The name’s Gayle; Chris Gayle and according to the title of his autobiography, he loves cricket. But in his tell-all titled Six Machine, he showers both his love for the game and hate for those who hurt his career in their own way. Just like the way he hits sixes while batting, he hits his enemies out of the park and keeps the readers engaged with the Gayle-style narrative.
Gayle paces his book in the same manner as he would start his innings in trying conditions — the first few chapters deal with his family which for some might look boring. But as he gains confidence he changes gear regularly and talks about all things cricket. Be it discussing his unexpected international debut in Toronto, the stripping of captaincy followed by his second triple hundred, his impulsive decision to do the Gangnam dance after being crowned world champions, the Girls-in-the-room scandal to his 400-run partnership with Leon Garrick, he talks about everything with a swagger of a Western cowboy hero. He tries to give his version of the events and even makes the readers’ eyes moist when he mentions his colleague the late Runako Morton.
There isn’t much mention of Pakistan Super League though and why would there be, the Six Machine failed miserably in the tournament. But he minces no words in reminiscing about his younger days when “nobody wanted to know me.” The former West Indian captain alleges that since he didn’t come from a rich family or didn’t study at a privileged school, he was always considered an outsider and that helped him do better than the rest. That’s why he listened to his teachers who knew that he was special and pays tribute to them whenever he can in his book.
There are many things you don’t know about Gayle such as:
· He Still blames Sherwin Campbell for ruining his promising Test debut,
· Has played for 16 teams in 7 countries across 6 continents,
· Believes he is to Cricket what Cristiano Ronaldo is to football,
· Terms Brian Lara selfish, blasting him for not being an inspiring captain
· Preferred Carl Hooper any day over Lara
· and is proud of his 37-run an over achievement in IPL.
Gayle also feels that Alan Stanford was one of the worst things to happen to Cricket. In fact he dedicates a separate chapter on the American billionaire who suspected the star West Indian cricketer of having an affair with his ‘girl’ on the sidelines of his ‘Crazy Circus Cricket’. Gayle also mentions that the allegation made the team play even more than their potential and they went home rich whereas Stanford ended up in Jail.
The book is different to the other cricket autobiographies because Gayle doesn’t adhere to the literary language; he writes the same way as he speaks and for his fans, that’s more than a treat! Then there are also his cricket rivalries with Aussie pacer James Faulkner about whom he tweeted in Spaghetti Western style and also about South African fast bowler Andre Nel whom he terms a difficult person considering he claimed to suffer from multiple personality disorder — the other person being named Gunther.
Then there is the case of the many licks — when his mother thrashed him, he calls it a lick; when he thrashes the bowlers, he also terms that a lick. He even labels his decision to not sign contract with WICB as a lick because many a times his career was deliberately stopped by them (he claims that) and was saved only when he decided to fly solo and be treated as an independent cricketer. Gayle repeatedly writes in the book that he wants to return to Test cricket and add to his two triple hundreds (only a handful of batsmen have done that), countless hundreds and make new records like being the first batsman ever to hit the first ball of a Test for six — butthe West Indian Cricket Board and selectors don’t want him to don the whites. That’s why he is available to play anywhere in the world and is likely to add to his current tally of world records such as first T20 International century, fastest double hundred in ODIs (scored in 2015), fastest ever T20 hundred and many more by the time you read this review.