Chris Gayle's time in England was expected to light up the NatWest T20 Blast competition, but the West Indian batsman seems to have become a firm favourite with the fans already. Not only has he been scoring quick runs for Somerset with some colossal hits as expected, he also seems to have caused a few ripples off the pitch. Supporters have applauded his sixes, been served drinks by him and even jumped into the river after balls that he has smashed out of the ground. Little wonder then that he has been nicknamed "Gayle Force" in the past.
Let's pay a closer inspection to the impact he has already had:
Gayle was soon into his stride for Somerset against Essex on 29th May at Chelmsford, after completing his stint in the IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore. A wonderful innings of 92 off just 59 balls, including 6 sixes, helped his side to a 3 wicket victory. It was a close shave though, as they only reached their target off the last ball of their innings.
His performance with the bat in hand got even better on 31st May at Taunton. In a high-scoring match, it was Kent who batted first to post a challenging 227-7. Sam Northeast laid down a marker with his sizzling 114 from 58 deliveries. Gayle led the charge in reply but even his unbeaten 151 off 62 balls wasn't enough to prevent a 3 run defeat.
Included in his rapid knock against Kent were an astounding 15 sixes. Three balls were 'lost' as a result of being hit out of the ground and either into the nearby River Tone or the neighbouring churchyard. An excited fan, Martin Bullock jumped into the river to retrieve one of the balls. After grabbing his souvenir of the day, he tweeted "Take a bow sir - that was quite sensational today!" to which Gayle replied "Hats off to you Champ."
Not content with his efforts for Somerset, Gayle has more recently made a guest appearance for club team South Devon in the match acting as a benefit game for Peter Trego. He smashed a six for them, before assisting behind the bar and answering the phone in the clubhouse.
You can't keep a good man down!
With an influx of top quality overseas players joining the sides battling it out in the T20 Blast this year, Gayle has been joined by the likes of Shahid ('Boom Boom') Afridi from Pakistan and New Zealand's enigmatic skipper Brendon McCullum. Reigning champions Birmingham Bears will have to wait until the end of the month until McCullum joins them, as he is currently involved in the ODIs and T20 matches for his country against England. Afridi has joined up with Northants. #Social media #Cricket