England v West Indies, World T20 2016, Group 1, Mumbai March 16, 2016

Can only compare Gayle to Sir Viv - Simmons


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'Only person in my time that I would put him with is Sir Vivian'

West Indies coach Phil Simmons likened Chris Gayle's destructive batting to that of Viv Richards and said Gayle was "up there with Sir Vivian" in tearing apart bowling attacks.

Gayle became the first batsman to score two hundreds in the World T20 after his unbeaten 100 off 48 balls helped West Indies ease their way to a six-wicket win. His previous had come in the first ever World T20 match when West Indies opened the 2007 tournament against South Africa. He also overtook Brendon McCullum's record for the most number of sixes in the Twenty20 format, and closed in on a century of them.

"To destroy an attack like that, I think the only person in my time that I would put him with is Sir Vivian because Sir Vivian used to go out there and destroy attacks like that so I think he is up there with Sir Viv in the way he tears apart attacks," Simmons said. 

He said his instructions to Gayle were simple: stay at the crease for 15 overs. "Bat 15 overs for me. That's all I need from you. I know that once you bat fifteen overs we are somewhere near to the target that we want, whether we are setting or chasing."

When asked if such a convincing win was a big statement from the team, Simmons said, "there is more to come." He was, however, non-committal when asked if Gayle's innings was a message to the WICB in lieu of the ongoing contract dispute, but said it was a message to other teams in the tournament.

He was equally vague in his response to a question on Gayle papering over the team's weaknesses, but suggested in a round-about manner that West Indies weren't averse to riding on Gayle's form.

"All teams have weaknesses but all teams have strengths too," he said. "If we use our strength and if your strength negates your weakness then that's how you win games. It's up to other people to explore our weaknesses like we would theirs."

Simmons also praised the performance of Marlon Samuels for setting up the chase, and said an attacking role at the top was what he envisioned for him. "We all talk about Chris today but I think Marlon set up the game today nicely for us because of the way he played," he said. "And he took a lot of pressure off Chris and I think that's the way we have been trying to get him to play because we know when he plays like that he is a class act. And if we can get him to play like that in every match - he mightn't get off in every match but he will get some 70s and 80s also and win games for us."

The fact West Indies chasing 183, rather than something over 200, was another significant tick for Simmons although felt his side had leaked a few too many runs at either end of the innings.

"We tried to make sure they didn't go much past 180. I think the last three overs and the first six we still gave a bit too many but we started well. I was happy to see how things went in the field too. What we do in the field is going to make us win the tournament."

Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   Cricinfouser on March 18, 2016, 18:27 GMT

    Chris Gayle is the most destructive T20 batsman of all time, nobody comes close. Most batsmen can dream of hitting 5 sixes in match. Gayle routinely hits 10 sixes in an innings. Yes, routinely. He has seen lean patch but his numbers are outrageous

  • ramu on March 18, 2016, 1:00 GMT

    Look..Gayle and Afridi are the same! They just swing the bat and try to make contact. However, these 2 are very powerful men and if they get going as we saw yesterday, they gonna tear any bowler to shreds. The only thing you cant depend on them..they will get out anytime. As for the comparison to Richards, that is a good call. Richards was just a swashbuckler like how Gayle is today. Richards never played proper technique shots..I saw him at Bourda..he just tried to hit the ball as hard as he could.

  • Basil on March 17, 2016, 23:22 GMT

    Viv had an integrity and respect that Gayle will never have.

  • john on March 17, 2016, 22:28 GMT

    Ab shouldn't even be brought into this discussion. Look at his stars when he faced australia with warne/McGrath playing, in 10 innings he averages 28 odd!

  • Mubeen on March 17, 2016, 14:25 GMT

    @basingrad. . . Gayle has opened the batting in every match he's played. Ab batted at 4 and 5 for 95% of his t20 career. I'm not saying ab would have scored 17 centuries had he been an opener but you can't compare averages and centuries between gayle and ab because many times when ab comes in he has to smash from ball 1.

  • Leigh on March 17, 2016, 14:10 GMT

    Differnet eras differnet bats too. If Sir Viv had a bat like these guys today I'm sure he would have made alot more runs. Compare, sure you can, don't be ridiculous folks.

  • K on March 17, 2016, 14:00 GMT

    Having watched Sir Viv (without helmet) against guys like Tommo, Lillee, Hadlee, Botham and Gayle against guys like from Akram to Steyn; they are from different eras, pitch conditions etc. Gayle has two 300+ test runs. I believe Gayle has become better than Sir Viv. I would love to hear the verdict of the veteran Tony Cozier though.

  • Graham on March 17, 2016, 13:05 GMT

    To those saying he can't be compared to Viv, fair enough. Comparing players of different eras is always futile. But it is ridiculous to refute the idea that Gayle is an all-time great. He is far and away the best batsman in this format and we may go a long time before we see anyone else as good. AB might be seen as the next person bowlers are least likely to want to bowl at... but you compare their records and Gayle's average is 50% higher and his strike rate 10% higher. He has 17 centuries to AB's 2. He has managed to score 175 in a 20 over game against an attack of mostly international bowlers. He may not be as far ahead as Bradman is in Tests but he is still an utter phenomenon in an increasingly popular and important format of the game. He has to go down as a great. (And 15 test centuries, an average of 42 and a triple century under his belt tend to show he is not a one-format wonder!)

  • chami on March 17, 2016, 12:59 GMT

    This tournament is getting really interesting ... Inform Eng. loses, I knew NewZeleand will be a real threat as well, Pakinstan always a factor ... not sure what Srilankans will do...

  • Joe on March 17, 2016, 12:57 GMT

    Comparing Viv Richards to Gayle is like comparing Apples to Oranges. True they are both fruits but....... Gayle is sporadic exhibition of total brutality compared to stylish steady classic cricket shots of Viv. (may be if he had played 20/20)

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