Sad when people forget my Test achievements - Gayle
Chris Gayle is one of the biggest crowd-pullers in Twenty20 leagues across the world but when he is labelled a mercenary, he feels "sad" his numerous performances over the years for West Indies, including in Test matches, are ignored.
"I have been giving my all for West Indies for 13 years now," Gayle told The Indian Express. "So it's sad when people just forget all that I've achieved for the Caribbean and use such derogatory terms. I have scored runs and won matches in Test cricket as well. There are other cricketers too who get bracketed in that category. It's unfair but you can't stop tongues from wagging."
Gayle, who has led Jamaica Tallawahs to the semi-finals of the inaugural edition of the Caribbean Premier League, believes T20 cricket will continue to thrive. "It's the future and is growing bigger and bigger every day. Test cricket will survive, but you have to be realistic and accept things as they are," he said. "You can come to the ground for two-and-a-half hours knowing that you will be enthralled for every minute you spend there. It's become a serious business now. You have everyone from movie stars to celebrities coming in and trying to have their own piece of the pie."
Gayle has participated in several leagues across the world and touched upon the difficulties of acclimatising. "I have been with (IPL franchise) Royal Challengers Bangalore for a few years now so that connect is there," he said. "But it's difficult to just go somewhere and feel the pulse of that city. I just go with an open mind.
"It's not easy, landing up in a dressing room on short notice and having to get acclimatised immediately. I have been doing this year after year. And I have got used to the whole process. The secret is to not put pressure on yourself to fit into the ecosystem. The best way to make a mark is by winning matches for the team.
"The expectations are massive. They don't just want runs or sixes from Chris Gayle but he has to entertain with bat, ball and in the field. Luckily, I love having fun and ensuring that the fans and everyone is getting their money's worth."
Gayle, who has has caught headlines during the CPL for his array of sunglasses, believes the tournament has a promising future. "The CPL has a good look. So I needed one too. The IPL is obviously bigger than all other leagues put together. You have so many stars playing together. The CPL does have a long way to go but we'll get there."
Guyana Amazon Warriors and Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel meet in the first semi-final in Port-of-Spain on Thursday, while Jamaica face off against Barbados Tridents in the second one on Friday.