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May 31, 2008
Chris Gayle, the injured West Indies captain, has taken on a mentoring role with the developing Xavier Marshall and the lessons contributed to the young batsman's first significant Test innings. Marshall's aggression took him to 53 as West Indies replied to Australia's 479 on the second day, but just as he looked like posting a big score he lapsed against the part-time bowling of Michael Clarke.
Marshall, who does not have a first-class century, is playing only his third Test - his previous best was 10 against Sri Lanka in 2005 - and Gayle has taken a special interest in his Jamaica team-mate. "He is a youngster who needs a bit of guidance," Gayle said. "I am a role model for him so what I do is to try and guide him as much as possible. When we play together I try and pass on as much information to him as possible and show him along the road."
Marshall, 22, was called into the second Test side when Gayle failed again to recover from his groin problem and did a worthy impression of his captain during the 69-ball stay, which included eight sharp boundaries. However, his misjudgement in offering no shot to Clarke was crucial and West Indies slipped from 103 for 1 to 125 for 3 at stumps.
"He batted really well and he got a start which he did not capitalise on," Gayle said. "Maybe he was trying to be cautious coming on to the end of the day."
Gayle said Marshall, who had disciplinary problems earlier in his career, was strong-minded but has changed the ways of his youth. "He has had difficulties, he was out of first-class cricket for a year and now you can see the determination and the hunger," he said. "He is definitely a different person.
"He has had issues which the board has dealt with. He needed comfort to come back. It's good to see him back and in a different and better frame of mind and now he needs to continue and keep his focus."
Marshall showed the advice from Gayle was starting to work. "A couple of months back Chris said to me that it is up to me to go out there and prove that I can do it," Marshall said. "He told me to work hard and once I worked hard the runs will come."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the day from the fourth ODI between Australia and South Africa at the MCG