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Bishop: 'Gayle has answered all the questions'
Ian Bishop reflects on Chris Gayle's 333 in Galle (06:37)
November 16, 2010
Sri Lanka v West Indies, 1st Test, Galle, 2nd day
Bishop: 'Gayle has answered all the questions'November 16, 2010
Akhila Ranganna: Hello and welcome to ESPNcricinfo. I am Akhila Ranganna and joining me is former West Indian fast bowler Ian Bishop who witnessed Chris Gayle's triple-century against Sri Lanka in Galle today.
Ian, given the backdrop to this series - the contracts issue, Gayle being removed from captaincy … how important was this knock to Gayle and West Indian cricket?
Ian Bishop: A hundred, or a triple-hundred as it turned out to be, was important, first of all for himself, because of all the controversy with regards to the contract and the questioning of his contract to the team and by extension West Indian cricket. That, for the moment, seems to have answered the questions, certainly for himself, that he still enjoys Test cricket. From the team's point of view it carried the team's total close to 600 in this innings with no one else getting a hundred. It emphasises his skill as well as proves to people that he is not a one-dimensional player; he can spend time at the crease, pace his innings and be patient in addition to his power.
AR: You touched upon the questioning of Gayle's commitment. Just looking at this knock and knowing Gayle the way you do, do you think that when he has a point to prove, it spurs him on even more?
IB: That is another aspect of the knock. Gayle would have come into this match knowing that many eyes were on him and they would be looking to see whether he would perform and give his best under a new captain, especially given that it is rumoured he wanted to continue captaining West Indies for a little while longer. What I saw in celebration of that hundred was a man who was determined to show he was capable and still willing to give to the team and it seemed to focus his mind. And so often, with the great players, the Laras and the Tendulkars, when a high demand is placed on them , particularly someone like Brian Lara, it seems to elevate them to a different level of concentration and determination.
AR: We've focussed on the mental aspect in terms of the build-up, but just in terms of the shot selection, and the way he played the Lankan bowlers, how you would you assess his innings?
IB: I think you can assess it in two phases. Yesterday when he started his innings, for the first 30-35 minutes he looked all at sea. He couldn't locate the ball, was beaten a number of times but in true Test match fashion he got through that. And once he got off the mark with a boundary after facing 19 deliveries, he blossomed into the attacking, dominating Gayle in good batting conditions. That was not a surprise.
But today he came out in a different way, in that he was very patient, his strike-rate which was around 80, dipped significantly today, but he never lost his concentration until he was dismissed. He showed his inclination to be quiet, calm and patient for the most part of the day. He showed an all-round, versatile ability that I thought he possessed all the while.
|The issues leading into this Test, the fact that he had not been successful in the subcontinent, and to come into foreign conditions and show the patience and the skill he showed, I rate this the better of his two triple-centuries|
AR: This is not Gayle's first triple-century, he made his first one against South Africa at St John's. How would you compare the two knocks?
IB: I was working at the game and it was a pretty flat deck and there were a number of high scores by several players. But this one, because of the issues leading into this Test, the fact that he had not been successful in the subcontinent, particularly against Sri Lanka in several efforts before - granted there was no Muttiah Muralitharan or Chaminda Vaas - to come into foreign conditions, and I rate it highly when someone does that, and show the patience and the skill he showed, I rate this probably the better of the two knocks.
AR: Virender Sehwag and Gayle are the two contemporary batsmen with two triple-hundreds each. Both bat at the top of the order and are destructive and can take the game away form the opposition in just one session. But someone like Sehwag has gone on from strength to strength and is far more consistent. Where has Gayle fallen behind in that regard?
IB: Sehwag has been a very good player in his own inimitable fashion over the years and a very aggressive player. But often with aggressive players like him and Gayle you overlook the fact they have the propensity to make big scores. There have been only four guys with two triple-hundreds so far. With the captaincy, it focussed Gayle's responsibility towards batting for his team. He seems to have matured across that, and it is still early days because this is first match after being dropped as captain, but it seems to have strengthened his resolve in that he knows his game now. If he wants to and is motivated enough, given the right conditions, he can go on to be as consistent as he has been over the last two seasons; two of the most destructive players, but Sehwag has been the more highly consistent of the two.
AR: Thanks a lot Ian for sharing your thoughts.
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