Numbers Game June 6, 2014

Much more than a short-format batsman

Brian Lara and Garry Sobers are the only West Indians with more 150-plus scores in Tests than Chris Gayle, who'll play his 100th match on Sunday, against New Zealand
  shares 45

Since the beginning of 2008, Chris Gayle has a Test average of 51.28, with eight centuries in 30 matches
Since the beginning of 2008, Chris Gayle has a Test average of 51.28, with eight centuries in 30 matches © WICB Media Photo/Randy Brooks

If all goes well over the next couple of days in the world of Chris Gayle, on Sunday he will become the ninth West Indian player to reach the 100-Test milestone, when they begin their three-Test series against New Zealand in Jamaica. Gayle hasn't always been around to play Test cricket for West Indies, especially over the last few years, when friction with the home board has coincided with greater T20 opportunities elsewhere and resulted in changed priorities. A batting style based around big hitting suits the shortest format too, but as a Test average of 42 testifies he is hardly a one-dimensional player. In fact, in Tests Gayle has a penchant for batting long periods and scoring big hundreds: he has seven scores of 150 or more, including two triple-hundreds; among West Indians, only Brian Lara and Garry Sobers have more 150-plus scores.

Despite all those stats and numbers, though, Test cricket isn't the first thing that comes to mind when talking about Gayle. His exploits in 20-over cricket is obviously a reason for that, but the other important reason for this is the number of Tests he has missed, especially over the last seven years. Since the beginning of 2008, Gayle has missed 24 out of the 54 Tests West Indies have played; over his entire career, he hasn't played 42 Tests since making his debut (though ten of those were immediately after he made his debut in 2000, when he didn't make the tour to Australia, and played only one out of five Tests in England). That's also the reason why it's taken him more than 14 years to play 100 Tests. Meanwhile, he has already played 173 T20 matches, for 12 different teams; since the beginning of 2008, he has played 163 T20 matches, but only 30 Tests.

What's also been unfortunate from West Indies' point of view is that Gayle's absence from a high percentage of Tests has coincided with what's otherwise also been his most prolific period in the format. In the 30 Tests he has played since the beginning of 2008, Gayle has averaged 51.28, converting eight of his 14 fifty-plus scores into hundreds. However, he has also missed a huge number of Tests during this period, thus limiting what might have been an even more successful period for him.

In the early days of his Test career, though, Gayle's numbers were pretty ordinary: through the first 35 Tests of his career, he averaged only 32.75, and his strike rate was less than 50. His two centuries were against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo and New Zealand at home, but both were big ones - 175 versus Zimbabwe and 204 against New Zealand - suggesting even then that he was a batsman who could play long innings.

Over the next four years his stats improved significantly: he scored five centuries in 34 Tests, including a couple in South Africa and one in England. That was also the period when he was a regular in the West Indies Test team, missing only four games in four years. Since 2008, he became even more successful as a Test player but a far more scarce resource.

Chris Gayle's Test career
Period Tests Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s Matches missed
2000-2003 35 1900 32.75 47.55 2/ 11 14
2003-2007 34 2674 43.83 66.12 5/ 17 4
2008 onwards 30 2359 51.28 66.73 8/ 6 24
Career 99 6933 42.01 59.90 15/ 34 42

During this period since 2008, Gayle's average of 51.28 puts him among the top ten best batsmen during this period, in terms of averages (with a minimum qualification of 2000 runs). Shivnarine Chanderpaul, his fellow West Indian, is at the top of that list with an incredible average of 65.41, while AB de Villiers and Kumar Sangakkara have also averaged more than 60 during this period.

What also stands out is the number of matches some of these batsmen have played: Michael Clarke has played 75 Tests since 2008, two and a half times the number Gayle has. Sangakkara, de Villiers, Hashim Amla and Sachin Tendulkar have all played more than 50, which is again an indication of how little Test cricket Gayle has played during this period. (Some of this also reflects on the Test schedules for different teams, but that's a topic for another day.)

From the time of Gayle's Test debut, 15 players have played more than 99 Tests, with the highest being Ricky Ponting's 134. Alastair Cook made his Test debut six years after Gayle but still made the 100-mark a few months before Gayle, during the Ashes tour to Australia last season.

Batsmen with highest Test averages since Jan 2008 (Qual: 2000 runs)
Batsman Tests Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 48 3925 65.41 43.34 12/ 19
AB de Villiers 59 5095 62.90 54.79 16/ 22
Kumar Sangakkara 51 5119 60.22 52.23 19/ 21
Hashim Amla 58 5172 58.11 54.43 18/ 22
Younis Khan 31 2583 56.15 48.80 8/ 8
Thilan Samaraweera 41 3340 55.66 51.24 9/ 17
Michael Clarke 75 6419 53.04 55.63 22/ 20
Chris Gayle 30 2359 51.28 66.73 8/ 6
Sachin Tendulkar 57 4555 51.17 54.74 14/ 20
Misbah-ul-Haq 36 2547 50.94 42.49 3/ 24

Gayle's batting technique relies much more on hand-eye coordination than on footwork but it's a style that has worked well for him, and one he has been able to adapt to different playing conditions. He averages more than 40 at home, in Sri Lanka, Australia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and New Zealand - in the last three countries mentioned, his average is more than 50. The only country where he average drops below 35 is India, where he has averaged 28.55 in five Tests.

What stands out about those numbers is his stats in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, countries where seam and swing bowlers get a fair amount of assistance. He averages 49.88 from five Tests in Australia, 54.50 from five in South Africa, and 67.50 in five games in New Zealand. In 11 Tests in England he has averaged only 36.05, but his overall numbers in these four countries are still very impressive: 2255 runs in 26 Tests at nearly 48. Among West Indians who have scored at least 1000 runs in these four countries, only three have better averages: Larry Gomes, Seymour Nurse and Viv Richards. That means Gayle has outperformed a lot of illustrious names in this aspect, including Lara, Chanderpaul, Sobers and Gordon Greenidge. (Click here for the full list.)

While Gayle's stats in these countries are impressive, he hasn't been quite as prolific as the other West Indian greats in home conditions. Gayle averages 40.46 from 49 home Tests, which is pretty respectable, but nowhere near Sobers' 66.80, Lara's 58.65, or Chanderpaul's 58.64. In fact, among West Indian batsmen who have scored at least 3000 Test runs at home, Gayle's average is easily the poorest - the next-lowest is Ramnaresh Sarwan's 45.37.

WI players with best batting averages in Aus, SA, Eng, NZ (Qual: 1000 runs)
Batsman Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Larry Gomes 18 1327 55.29 6/ 4
Seymour Nurse 16 1588 54.75 4/ 7
Viv Richards 49 3894 53.34 9/ 23
Chris Gayle 26 2255 47.97 6/ 11
Basil Butcher 21 1662 47.48 4/ 8
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 49 3553 46.75 7/ 24
Garry Sobers 38 2898 45.28 9/ 12
Gordon Greenidge 42 3117 45.17 8/ 14
Frank Worrell 26 1976 44.90 5/ 11
Brian Lara 49 3943 44.80 11/ 18

Since Gayle's Test debut in March 2000, West Indies have tried 22 other openers in Tests, and none of them have scored even a quarter of the runs that Gayle has at the top of the order: the second-highest is Daren Ganga with 1578 at an average of 25.45, while Gayle scored 6747 at 42.97. Wavell Hinds (1482 runs at 32.21) and Devon Smith (1174 at 23.95) are the only other openers with 1000-plus runs, but clearly neither has been world-class.

Gayle's stats as an opener are, in fact, comparable with some of the top West Indian openers of all time. In terms of runs scored he is third in the list, next only to Greenidge and Desmond Haynes. (Among all West Indian batsmen he is eighth, and 67 runs from 7000.) His average of almost 43 is up there too, marginally below those of Greenidge and Conrad Hunte, who are the only openers from West Indies to score 2000-plus runs at an average of more than 45. If Gayle keeps up his fitness levels and his hunger for five-day cricket, his name just might be in that list too by the time he is done with Tests.

West Indian openers with 2000-plus Test runs
Batsman Innings Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Gordon Greenidge 182 7488 45.10 19/ 34
Desmond Haynes 201 7472 42.45 18/ 39
Chris Gayle 165 6747 42.97 15/ 33
Roy Fredericks 108 4329 42.86 8/ 26
Conrad Hunte 78 3245 45.06 8/ 13
Sherwin Campbell 91 2856 32.82 4/ 18
Jeff Stollmeyer 55 2139 41.94 4/ 12

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY DrJez on | June 11, 2014, 16:27 GMT

    @RChambers. You are taking a very selective look at the facts! Yes, Gayle has a fabulous list of high scores, whereas Haynes does not. But their averages are the same. That therefore means that Gayle has a lot more failures to keep the average down, whereas Haynes was more consistent. Why does that make Gayle better?? Next, you state that not-outs are an indicator of selfishness. Huh? Since when can an opener play for a not-out?? Not-outs for openers usually happen when there is a small target to chase. That happened a lot in the Haynes era (think Roberts, Holding, Marshall and co), but not now. Check out WI vs Aus 1983-84. So who is better? Solid and reliable versus occasional brilliance? I don't know. But I do try to look at the stats objectively.

  • POSTED BY RChambers on | June 10, 2014, 15:37 GMT

    Correction to my last post: I WOULD even say that Conrad Hunte was better than Haynes.

  • POSTED BY RChambers on | June 10, 2014, 15:15 GMT

    While Haynes was in a great partnership with Greenidge, Haynes was not a great batsman,. Haynes highest score is just 184 !!!!!. Haynes was never that good against spin (not that Gayle is is great either), he often played for himself and not for the team. I wouldn't even say that Conrad Hunte was better than Haynes (definitely based on average 45.07 vs 42.29). Excluding the current match, Haynes has played 28 more innings that Gayle but only has 554 more runs!!!!! Alos, if we ignore the not outs (Haynes 25 vs Gayle 9, which also proves Haynes' selfishness to some extent) and divide Test runs by Test innings, we see that Gayle's average is much better than Haynes (39.84 vs 37.06) Haynes. Lastly, Haynes only has 2 scors of 150 or more, while Gayle has 7 including 2 triples and 1 double. Conclusion = Gayle has been a much better performer for WI in Tests.

  • POSTED BY on | June 9, 2014, 17:58 GMT

    SMH. Are you really mentioning Tendulkar and Gayle in the same breath. That's like comparing oranges to apples. BTW, Sobers and Richards were better batsmen than Tendulkar.

  • POSTED BY yoohoo on | June 9, 2014, 10:27 GMT

    @creekeetman - Now you are just speaking in circles. Del Mohammed obviously can't list all 174, so he listed 2. If you want to make a point, then you should put up facts, and tell us how Gayles avg of 51 since 2008 is bad? How does he have 40+ avg in SA, NZ, Aus and SL? You need to explain these with facts, otherwise currently you are looking like the one who is ranting without looking at facts.

  • POSTED BY creekeetman on | June 8, 2014, 14:41 GMT

    Del Mohamed... you call that proof? you actually proved my point.. you mention 2 innings out of 174 that a gayle knock contributed to wi either saving or winning a test, yes he scored 2 trebles in the opponents "back Yard", but look at the opponents.. B'desh, and a terribly weak SL bowling attack, on dead pitches, ok it took some doing, but my point is they were worthless knocks, as were almost all his innings. Haynes is light years ahead of gayle as a test batsman. Doesn't matter if WI were number one or not, Haynes had to face opening bowlers like Dev, Imran, Safraz, Thompson, Lillee, Hadlee, Botham, Willis, just to name a few, and he managed to score big and useful runs against them home and away, Gayle never had to face AS many quality bowlers on a consistent basis, and when he did he consistently failed.. get it now? Gayle's big runs have usually been against weak bowling attacks, and on useless pitches... like I said.. worthless knocks as far as the team is concerned.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2014, 10:41 GMT

    After reading the various comments here,I will just say facts a very stubborn.....

  • POSTED BY symester on | June 8, 2014, 2:38 GMT

    You dont need a batting manual to hit a ball over the boundry, batting is about scoring runs and if you can do that with the bat turn side ways and eyes blind folded then you are a genious. The comparison of era dont change the fact of one scoring runs as it could be cricket in the back yard or a international match any cricketer will tell you scoring 300 runs will take some amount of talent. No 2 persons bat exactly alike and all the greats had some thing different about them but what made them great was the ability to score match defind runs. If you know the history Gayle he score is big hundred against the top rank teams like Lara did.

  • POSTED BY on | June 7, 2014, 18:16 GMT

    creekeetman.. to say that gayle is inferior to desmond haynes is ridiculous. firstly, wi vs nz in new zealand a few years back, gayle 16o+ saved we from defeat. Gayle vs eng at sabina in 2009 .. his century had as much part to play as taylor's 5-11 in that win. The man has 2 triple hundreds- against SA in SA and SL in SL. You say he doesnt make runs against quality bowlers, then show me the proof like ive just shown you that he does.. and in those bowlers' backyards as well. As for being undone by quality bowling on a regular basis, show me that batsman who hasnt... Even lara was bowled behind his legs on several occasions. Lets look at haynes for a while. Quality of opposition. Wi were the best in the world. Aus second best. Aus skipper remarks at the time- 'WI are miles ahead of us, but we are light years ahead of england'. england was the fourth best side at the time after wi, aus and pak. haynes also had the best bowlers on his team so he never faced the best in a test. gayle has.

  • POSTED BY creekeetman on | June 7, 2014, 12:37 GMT

    gayle is a case where stats don't tell the whole truth... he usually scores his big runs against poor attacks, or on dead pitches. his fifties are also usually quick and meaningless, in all his test career I can't remember where a gayle knock either won or saved a test for windies. and altho his average is up there with Haynes for instance, gayle is no where near the quality of dessy, who was solid in defence and beautiful to watch in attack. gayle on the other hand is technically weak and has been undone cheaply by quality bowlers on a regular basis, but for teams of inferior quality, gayles average would've been in the 20's, on the other hand Haynes faced quality bowlers his entire career and might have averaged in the 60's or more if he faced the rubbish that gayle has.

  • POSTED BY DrJez on | June 11, 2014, 16:27 GMT

    @RChambers. You are taking a very selective look at the facts! Yes, Gayle has a fabulous list of high scores, whereas Haynes does not. But their averages are the same. That therefore means that Gayle has a lot more failures to keep the average down, whereas Haynes was more consistent. Why does that make Gayle better?? Next, you state that not-outs are an indicator of selfishness. Huh? Since when can an opener play for a not-out?? Not-outs for openers usually happen when there is a small target to chase. That happened a lot in the Haynes era (think Roberts, Holding, Marshall and co), but not now. Check out WI vs Aus 1983-84. So who is better? Solid and reliable versus occasional brilliance? I don't know. But I do try to look at the stats objectively.

  • POSTED BY RChambers on | June 10, 2014, 15:37 GMT

    Correction to my last post: I WOULD even say that Conrad Hunte was better than Haynes.

  • POSTED BY RChambers on | June 10, 2014, 15:15 GMT

    While Haynes was in a great partnership with Greenidge, Haynes was not a great batsman,. Haynes highest score is just 184 !!!!!. Haynes was never that good against spin (not that Gayle is is great either), he often played for himself and not for the team. I wouldn't even say that Conrad Hunte was better than Haynes (definitely based on average 45.07 vs 42.29). Excluding the current match, Haynes has played 28 more innings that Gayle but only has 554 more runs!!!!! Alos, if we ignore the not outs (Haynes 25 vs Gayle 9, which also proves Haynes' selfishness to some extent) and divide Test runs by Test innings, we see that Gayle's average is much better than Haynes (39.84 vs 37.06) Haynes. Lastly, Haynes only has 2 scors of 150 or more, while Gayle has 7 including 2 triples and 1 double. Conclusion = Gayle has been a much better performer for WI in Tests.

  • POSTED BY on | June 9, 2014, 17:58 GMT

    SMH. Are you really mentioning Tendulkar and Gayle in the same breath. That's like comparing oranges to apples. BTW, Sobers and Richards were better batsmen than Tendulkar.

  • POSTED BY yoohoo on | June 9, 2014, 10:27 GMT

    @creekeetman - Now you are just speaking in circles. Del Mohammed obviously can't list all 174, so he listed 2. If you want to make a point, then you should put up facts, and tell us how Gayles avg of 51 since 2008 is bad? How does he have 40+ avg in SA, NZ, Aus and SL? You need to explain these with facts, otherwise currently you are looking like the one who is ranting without looking at facts.

  • POSTED BY creekeetman on | June 8, 2014, 14:41 GMT

    Del Mohamed... you call that proof? you actually proved my point.. you mention 2 innings out of 174 that a gayle knock contributed to wi either saving or winning a test, yes he scored 2 trebles in the opponents "back Yard", but look at the opponents.. B'desh, and a terribly weak SL bowling attack, on dead pitches, ok it took some doing, but my point is they were worthless knocks, as were almost all his innings. Haynes is light years ahead of gayle as a test batsman. Doesn't matter if WI were number one or not, Haynes had to face opening bowlers like Dev, Imran, Safraz, Thompson, Lillee, Hadlee, Botham, Willis, just to name a few, and he managed to score big and useful runs against them home and away, Gayle never had to face AS many quality bowlers on a consistent basis, and when he did he consistently failed.. get it now? Gayle's big runs have usually been against weak bowling attacks, and on useless pitches... like I said.. worthless knocks as far as the team is concerned.

  • POSTED BY on | June 8, 2014, 10:41 GMT

    After reading the various comments here,I will just say facts a very stubborn.....

  • POSTED BY symester on | June 8, 2014, 2:38 GMT

    You dont need a batting manual to hit a ball over the boundry, batting is about scoring runs and if you can do that with the bat turn side ways and eyes blind folded then you are a genious. The comparison of era dont change the fact of one scoring runs as it could be cricket in the back yard or a international match any cricketer will tell you scoring 300 runs will take some amount of talent. No 2 persons bat exactly alike and all the greats had some thing different about them but what made them great was the ability to score match defind runs. If you know the history Gayle he score is big hundred against the top rank teams like Lara did.

  • POSTED BY on | June 7, 2014, 18:16 GMT

    creekeetman.. to say that gayle is inferior to desmond haynes is ridiculous. firstly, wi vs nz in new zealand a few years back, gayle 16o+ saved we from defeat. Gayle vs eng at sabina in 2009 .. his century had as much part to play as taylor's 5-11 in that win. The man has 2 triple hundreds- against SA in SA and SL in SL. You say he doesnt make runs against quality bowlers, then show me the proof like ive just shown you that he does.. and in those bowlers' backyards as well. As for being undone by quality bowling on a regular basis, show me that batsman who hasnt... Even lara was bowled behind his legs on several occasions. Lets look at haynes for a while. Quality of opposition. Wi were the best in the world. Aus second best. Aus skipper remarks at the time- 'WI are miles ahead of us, but we are light years ahead of england'. england was the fourth best side at the time after wi, aus and pak. haynes also had the best bowlers on his team so he never faced the best in a test. gayle has.

  • POSTED BY creekeetman on | June 7, 2014, 12:37 GMT

    gayle is a case where stats don't tell the whole truth... he usually scores his big runs against poor attacks, or on dead pitches. his fifties are also usually quick and meaningless, in all his test career I can't remember where a gayle knock either won or saved a test for windies. and altho his average is up there with Haynes for instance, gayle is no where near the quality of dessy, who was solid in defence and beautiful to watch in attack. gayle on the other hand is technically weak and has been undone cheaply by quality bowlers on a regular basis, but for teams of inferior quality, gayles average would've been in the 20's, on the other hand Haynes faced quality bowlers his entire career and might have averaged in the 60's or more if he faced the rubbish that gayle has.

  • POSTED BY on | June 7, 2014, 8:36 GMT

    Technically weak players like Gayle & Sehwag having superlate T20 & test records prove only 1 thing that test & T20 top order batting is the easiest whereas it is the ODI top order batting that is toughest.......That is y ODI is the superior most format of game that tests your technique as well as range of precisely played strokes against negative field placements..........................................In tests poor over attacking field placements allow you to play uncontrolled shots anywhere to score runs.

  • POSTED BY symester on | June 6, 2014, 21:58 GMT

    If IND can see Sewage as a great player then what about Mr.Gayle

  • POSTED BY symester on | June 6, 2014, 21:57 GMT

    The tripple centuries are only iceing on the cake, the man averages 50+ in the last decade with 15 hundreds playing in a inconsistent team. Kallis plays in a good team so most of his hundreds dont single handed win SA matches but more build partnerships were others can fead of and make huge match winning scores. Gayle's hundreds are against SA (Polluck, Ntini, Neil) at there peak and SLk in sub-content ( Mendes, Herth). No disrespect to Gillespie's double but it was against BAN and took 400+ balls when Hussy made 180+ of 200+ balls in the same match. your comparison doesn't match up, i know stats doesn't tell everything but check Gayles hundreds are against which bowling line up and conditions.

  • POSTED BY b4u8me2 on | June 6, 2014, 21:30 GMT

    @ Optimistix - This has nothing to do with a batting era. if it did then there would be no doubt that Sobers with a batting average of 57.78 and Viv Richards with a batting average of 50.23 would have been better batsmen than Tendulkar who averaged 53.78. Tendulkar and Gayle played in the same era. If it this era was so batsman friendly are u telling me that the great Tendulkar could not score more than 10 runs an innings more than a mediocre Gayle? Come on and be real.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2014, 20:28 GMT

    Gayle is not as technically correct as the so called great test batsmen but his record must speak for itself. Robert Eddings is speaking off the top of his head when he says Gayle makes runs usually when everyone else scores easily. In his seven innings above 150 only twice did any of his team mates score a hundred and on two other occasions no other team mate reached fifty. In all but one of those seven innings the average score of the other WI batsmen was less than fifty. In four of those innings the average score of his team mate was less than 30

  • POSTED BY kaddy64 on | June 6, 2014, 19:24 GMT

    Someone remind me as to why he is not the Captain of the West Indies...????

  • POSTED BY real26_03 on | June 6, 2014, 16:59 GMT

    People who are talking about triple centuries, for them - Kallis only once scored 200+ innings in his whole carrier and Jason Gillespie also scored 200* once in his career. So can You compare Kallis to Gillespie in terms of batting based on this fact? If your answer is 'No' then stop talking about the 'triple' centuries of Gayle.

  • POSTED BY symester on | June 6, 2014, 16:39 GMT

    Gayle is 1 of the hand full of men to have 2 tripple centuries and against good bowling attack yet he is not consider a great player. Greenidge and Haynes are great players and they had the luxury of feeding of each other and a great team. Gayle on the other hand hasn't been that fortunate. Batting era or not still not alot of people going around making tripple centuries .

  • POSTED BY KeepingitReal on | June 6, 2014, 16:38 GMT

    Remember that Haynes and Greenidge are considered greats NOT because of their individual records, but because of the fact that their opening partnership is the second-most successful in test history (using aggregate runs). As a rule, a necessary condition for test batsmen to be included in conversations about greatness is a batting average exceeding 50.

  • POSTED BY Optimistix on | June 6, 2014, 15:40 GMT

    b4u8me2- the stark difference is that the 2000s and 2010s have been far more batsman friendly than the 70s, 80s and 90s.

    Since you're into comparing numbers, why don't you compare the overall batting averages of all batsmen in the respective eras? Then look at the individuals' numbers relative to the average in his era. You'll have your answer.

  • POSTED BY b4u8me2 on | June 6, 2014, 15:19 GMT

    After 99 matches Greenidge had 6985 runs with 17 centuries and 34 fifties. After 99 matches Haynes had 6411 runs with 16 hundreds and 34 fifties. After 99 matches Gayle has 6933 runs with 15 centuries and 34 fifties. Can someone tell me the stark difference in performance between the greats of Haynes ad Greenidge and that of Gayle.

  • POSTED BY b4u8me2 on | June 6, 2014, 14:54 GMT

    At times I cannot understand the bias. We call former WI openers, Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge, great but we call Chris Gayle mediocre or at best average when his stats are equal to Haynes and Greenidge. Haynes played 116 matches, Greenidge 108 and Gayle thus far 99. Haynes averaged 42.29, Greenidge 44.72 and Gayle 42.01. Haynes struck 18 centuries and 39 fifties. Greenidge 19/34 and Gayle 15/34. With 9 matches less than Greenidge Gayle has 4 centuries less and with 17 matches less than Haynes Gayle only has 3 centuries less. By time he plays as much matches he could score those 3 centuries. It is unfair to call Haynes and Greenidge great yet criticize Gayle as much as we do.

  • POSTED BY crktcrzy on | June 6, 2014, 14:41 GMT

    i like Gayle and am impressed by his test stats as presented here- however the biggest disappointment I had with him was when he was quoted saying a couple of years ago that he 'doesn't care if test cricket is wiped out of the world scene' (or something like that)- I thought that he has was obsessed with the T20 glamor & success and was just another one for whom greed had overcome passion. Anyways I hope it was just a momentary slip of mouth, fueled by his enormous T20 success. i wish him well for his 100 tests and 7000 test runs quest.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2014, 14:25 GMT

    I'm a Gayle fan, but let's not get carried away. Gayle may average 49 in Australia, but the 2009 Australia attack was one of its weakest attacks ever, and of the 5 games Gayle played in Australia, he failed in every innings McGrath and Warne played.

    Stats do not tell the whole story, people. As a WI opener, Gayle isn't even as good as the discarded Sherwin Campbell. And Gayle's average is poor considering he's playing in the most batsman friendly era. You will rarely see Gayle score in a match that everyone else is not scoring easily.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2014, 13:35 GMT

    I'm not sure it's fair to compare Gayle's home record to that of past greats when the pitches have altered beyond recognition (to benefit spin, and destroy fast bowling and "West Indian" strokeplay). Otherwise an interesting and valid tribute to a man who almost always plays with a smile on his face.

  • POSTED BY IndTheBest on | June 6, 2014, 13:29 GMT

    I am a big Gayle fan. Biggest tribute I can give him by putting the line 'Gayle is in T20 cricket is what Sachin Tendulkar is in ODI and Don Bradman is in TEST"!!

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2014, 13:20 GMT

    Gayle has been a great test opener over the last decade or so, he just hasn't has a consistent partner. But I'm afraid that his hand-eye coordination was what made him so good, and those type of batsmen usually start failing much earlier than the patient, technically-sound ones like Chanderpaul. For WI's sake, I hope Gayle goes on to play many more tests.

  • POSTED BY tanel on | June 6, 2014, 12:34 GMT

    Congrats Mr. Gayle on your successes thus far... You are incredibly entertaining in all formats of the game... Continue to make your nation and alma mater XLCR High School proud...

  • POSTED BY armchairjohnny on | June 6, 2014, 10:52 GMT

    The entertainment value that Chris brings to the five day game isn't quantifiable. Period.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2014, 9:35 GMT

    paul macclister true may be thats the one i missed,butt every time i looked at him in tests he looked distinctly average

  • POSTED BY xtrafalgarx on | June 6, 2014, 9:05 GMT

    An average of 42 is good, especially when you are an opener. The only hitch i have with Gayle is the amount of hundreds, you want to score at least one hundred every 5 games. That's what makes Hayden, Ponting, Cook, Smith, Amla stand out as top order players because of the amount of hundreds.

    Hayden had THIRTY in 100 tests! Ponting 27, Cook 25 and Amla on his way with 21 from only 76 tests - THOSE are great batsmen and why i don't rate someone like a De Villiers as high as others do. As for Gayle though his stats are very good despite the fact he is considered a T20 basher.

  • POSTED BY Kulaputra on | June 6, 2014, 8:44 GMT

    An average of 42 is brilliant, considering a lot of this has come when the West Indies fortunes were not so great in test cricket. A forgotten facet of Gayle's play is his scoring in Test Cricket. The article could have stuck to that instead of talking about his T20 prowess where he is the modern day Bradman.

    Bravo Chris Gayle good luck and may you play your 100th. Stay injury free for the next few days

  • POSTED BY shane-oh on | June 6, 2014, 8:30 GMT

    Interesting how these types of articles provoke such vitriol and hatred. The article was written to celebrate the man's achievement (as Cricinfo almost always does for these milestones), and to point out that pigeonholing Gayle as a T20 only batsman isn't fair. The comments section turns into nonsense whereby people proclaim some batsman or other is better, or try to denigrate Gayle's achievements. Why must some fans belittle a player to make themselves feel better?

    The claims of weak bowling, as already pointed out, simply aren't true. Gayle has faced and conquered some of the best ever.

    @real26_03 - factually incorrect. Gayle has played 14 of his 99 matches against those two nations and scored 3 of his 15 hundreds. Also, should we disregard the achievements of all batsmen who have ever played these 2 nations? Ignore Sachin, Lara, Ponting because they had to play these nations. FYI, Zimbabwe have been playing tests since 1992.

    A man with 2 triples clearly has some talent.

  • POSTED BY Aravindakshan on | June 6, 2014, 7:56 GMT

    @SLisBestinEarth. The list doesn't have Inzamam, Ponting, Hussey, Dravid, Laxman, Kallis, Pietersen. So Samaraweera is better than them? This is just a time frame. The article is not proclaiming that Gayle is one of the top 10 batsmen of that era. Its simply saying that he is better than JUST a T20 batsman. With the same SAF attack, Kohli scored an ATTACKING century. What do u make of that? I appreciate your love for SL. But give some respect to the word 'Legend.' Dilshan and Samaraweera? Legends? Even they would not think so.

    Cricinfo. I humbly request you to publish this so I can believe that once in a while, my post will be published

  • POSTED BY real26_03 on | June 6, 2014, 7:24 GMT

    This article however doesn't say that during this time Chris Gayle made most of runs against mediocre teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe!

  • POSTED BY mrgupta on | June 6, 2014, 7:20 GMT

    @SLisBestinEarth: What you picked on is Mahela's overall test record not since 2008. Since Jan 2008 Mahela has managed an Avg of 47.62 which is lower than 50 and thats why not included in the list. I am not sure if anyone would agree here that Samaraweera played the best innings by a Subcontinent batsmen in SA since 2000. Sachin's inning of 146 in 2010 was rated the best of the year in the ICC awards and infact Sangakkara's inning of 108 in that same match as Samaraweera was rated much higher too.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2014, 7:16 GMT

    wrong Jaswanth! any player who averages 42 (when he often has to go hell for leather for his team and throw his wicket away) is excellent. better than excellent in fact. he's a bit like Adam Gichrist in that regard, where he should be judged more on his strike rate. contrast this with someone like Shiv Chaderpaul - who is at the opposite end of the entertainment spectrum. his 65.41 batting average during that period should have an asterisk next to it. here is a prime example of someone who bats for himself and not the team. I have lost count of the number of times where he has ensured he remains unbeaten at the end of the innings. it seems to be virtually every innings I see him bat in fact.

  • POSTED BY Peakfan on | June 6, 2014, 7:11 GMT

    Agree with tinkertinker - there are some good bowlers around at present but there's some very average attacks. A lot of averages are artificially boosted by big runs against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, neither attack being remotely international standard. Such a boost wasn't available a few years back and it has to be taken into account. Gayle is a long way from the player he was, however. In the recent IPL he looked immobile and I'd question whether his back issues will allow him to bat for long periods now

  • POSTED BY SLisBestinEarth on | June 6, 2014, 5:39 GMT

    Mahela is missed for some reason in the "Batsmen with highest Test averages since Jan 2008 (Qual: 2000 runs)" list filtered 1998-2014 141 237 15 11230 374 50.58 21815 51.47 33 45 14 1316 60

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/49289.html?class=1;spanmin1=02+Jan+1998;spanval1=span;template=results;type=batting;view=match

    Very proud three of the Sri lankan legends are listed in the list: Mahela, Sanga & Samaraweera.. Missing other legend Dilshan.

    From India : Only one retired Sachin From Pak : Aged Misbah

    Ed. note: Mahela Jayawardene averages 47.62 during this period, and hence doesn't make the cut.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2014, 5:39 GMT

    agree with others avg of 42 is average at best

  • POSTED BY Udendra on | June 6, 2014, 5:36 GMT

    @SLisBestinEarth: pity he had to return in that fashion.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | June 6, 2014, 5:32 GMT

    This era of weak bowling, have you people lost it? Please look into stats before claiming such non sense. Dale Steyn, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Vernon Philander, Trent Boult, Murali all have brilliant averages, better than they had previously, the west indian bowling is the only one that has significantly deteriorated. But that shouldn't affect gayle right? anyway I'm not a fan of gayle. that average of 42 he has only because he capitalizes when he gets set, otherwise he's ordinary.

  • POSTED BY SLisBestinEarth on | June 6, 2014, 5:16 GMT

    Thilan Samaraweera -- A Test match legend. Thilan Samaraweera 41 3340 55.66 51.24 9/ 17

    At latest a Hundred against SAF inlcludes Steyn, Morkel, Philander, Kallis,Tahir was delight to watch. Easily a best innings from Sub-continent player after 2000's.

  • POSTED BY Kingman75 on | June 6, 2014, 4:05 GMT

    The analysis tries to make an ordinary player look better than he actually is. 99 tests at 42 in an easy era is terrible. Compare him against Sehwag and the difference is huge!

  • POSTED BY tinkertinker on | June 6, 2014, 3:04 GMT

    Look at how many players average 50+ in this era, a test average of 42 in this weak bowling era is more like mid 30's 20 years ago.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY tinkertinker on | June 6, 2014, 3:04 GMT

    Look at how many players average 50+ in this era, a test average of 42 in this weak bowling era is more like mid 30's 20 years ago.

  • POSTED BY Kingman75 on | June 6, 2014, 4:05 GMT

    The analysis tries to make an ordinary player look better than he actually is. 99 tests at 42 in an easy era is terrible. Compare him against Sehwag and the difference is huge!

  • POSTED BY SLisBestinEarth on | June 6, 2014, 5:16 GMT

    Thilan Samaraweera -- A Test match legend. Thilan Samaraweera 41 3340 55.66 51.24 9/ 17

    At latest a Hundred against SAF inlcludes Steyn, Morkel, Philander, Kallis,Tahir was delight to watch. Easily a best innings from Sub-continent player after 2000's.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | June 6, 2014, 5:32 GMT

    This era of weak bowling, have you people lost it? Please look into stats before claiming such non sense. Dale Steyn, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Vernon Philander, Trent Boult, Murali all have brilliant averages, better than they had previously, the west indian bowling is the only one that has significantly deteriorated. But that shouldn't affect gayle right? anyway I'm not a fan of gayle. that average of 42 he has only because he capitalizes when he gets set, otherwise he's ordinary.

  • POSTED BY Udendra on | June 6, 2014, 5:36 GMT

    @SLisBestinEarth: pity he had to return in that fashion.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2014, 5:39 GMT

    agree with others avg of 42 is average at best

  • POSTED BY SLisBestinEarth on | June 6, 2014, 5:39 GMT

    Mahela is missed for some reason in the "Batsmen with highest Test averages since Jan 2008 (Qual: 2000 runs)" list filtered 1998-2014 141 237 15 11230 374 50.58 21815 51.47 33 45 14 1316 60

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/49289.html?class=1;spanmin1=02+Jan+1998;spanval1=span;template=results;type=batting;view=match

    Very proud three of the Sri lankan legends are listed in the list: Mahela, Sanga & Samaraweera.. Missing other legend Dilshan.

    From India : Only one retired Sachin From Pak : Aged Misbah

    Ed. note: Mahela Jayawardene averages 47.62 during this period, and hence doesn't make the cut.

  • POSTED BY Peakfan on | June 6, 2014, 7:11 GMT

    Agree with tinkertinker - there are some good bowlers around at present but there's some very average attacks. A lot of averages are artificially boosted by big runs against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, neither attack being remotely international standard. Such a boost wasn't available a few years back and it has to be taken into account. Gayle is a long way from the player he was, however. In the recent IPL he looked immobile and I'd question whether his back issues will allow him to bat for long periods now

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2014, 7:16 GMT

    wrong Jaswanth! any player who averages 42 (when he often has to go hell for leather for his team and throw his wicket away) is excellent. better than excellent in fact. he's a bit like Adam Gichrist in that regard, where he should be judged more on his strike rate. contrast this with someone like Shiv Chaderpaul - who is at the opposite end of the entertainment spectrum. his 65.41 batting average during that period should have an asterisk next to it. here is a prime example of someone who bats for himself and not the team. I have lost count of the number of times where he has ensured he remains unbeaten at the end of the innings. it seems to be virtually every innings I see him bat in fact.

  • POSTED BY mrgupta on | June 6, 2014, 7:20 GMT

    @SLisBestinEarth: What you picked on is Mahela's overall test record not since 2008. Since Jan 2008 Mahela has managed an Avg of 47.62 which is lower than 50 and thats why not included in the list. I am not sure if anyone would agree here that Samaraweera played the best innings by a Subcontinent batsmen in SA since 2000. Sachin's inning of 146 in 2010 was rated the best of the year in the ICC awards and infact Sangakkara's inning of 108 in that same match as Samaraweera was rated much higher too.