Since power hitting has been the ABC of modern-day batting, the power hitters have become unavoidable in limited-over games. Obviously, that makes “The Universe boss” precious.
Chris Gayle tops the chart of overall sixes in International cricket. He is the only player to hit 500+ sixes in all formats of the game; being in the top 3 six hitters in all three formats separately.
So what makes him the boss of six-hitting?
In this article, we have come up with few factors that make Chris Gayle one of the masters of power hitting.
The height factor is a boon for Chris Gayle.
Taller batters with their long pair of hands can cover a larger arc with their bat swing. Consisting of this x-factor, Gayle finds even the good length ball within his slot. This eventually makes life tougher for the bowlers when they bowl their stock ball against this giant man. Even though Chris Gayle has not got flexible hips to get under the ball, his long hands do the job of getting under any line and length.
On the flip side, standing tall against the shorter deliveries is also done with ease with his natural resource – Height.
Adaptable back lift
What accompanies the height factor is the high backlift. With that, Gayle gets extra power while connecting the ball. In fact, he naturally chooses the height of his backlift according to the length of the ball. And that’s why whenever he finds the ball within his slot, the back lift goes even higher to make the ball soar over what is required.
Wide stance has always been a suitable option for tall batters. Be it Kevin Pietersen, Alex Hales, Martin Guptill, or Kieron pollard, they all find their wide stance more effective to make better connections with the ball.
Being a 6.4 ft tall batter, Gayle uses his stance to make himself available for almost all lines and lengths (especially for yorkers).
Also, this wide stance makes the weight transfer for Gayle easier. With that, he can prop onto the front foot and charge to the back foot to seize the length of the ball.
The most underrated or unspoken quality in Gayle’s batting is his strong base. Without that, those power-packed bat swings and sweet timing of the ball are impossible.
Gayle likes transferring the weight to the front foot. And it has also been the reason why he is so dominant against the spinners. By being so tall for short balls, the universal boss uses his front foot most of the time to counter them.
But at the same time, getting to the back foot for him against shorter balls isn’t a tough job either.
Quick bat speed
Too quick, too sharp, and too in the way.
Bat speed has been the stalemate used by Chris Gayle against the bowlers. Above all, Gayle is most dependent on his bat swing, and it is transparent whenever he swings the blade hard with less use of footwork.
What’s more fascinating is his half follow-through. And it shows his knack for controlling his bat swing. Once he finds the ball connected, he stops the flow of the bat.
Timing at its best
Chris Gayle’s magic happens here!
Gayle doesn’t try to hit the ball hard; he always tries to middle it hard. There is so much difference between the two.
Gayle doesn’t use a hefty bat swing to send the ball out of the park, unlike other power hitters. And there, you can witness the sheer batsmanship quality of this Caribbean.
At the same time, this has been the reason why we witness a half-hearted or desultory swing of the bat from him whenever he is beaten by the length or pace of the ball.
You cannot find what’s running on Gayle’s mind through his face. He is so cool.
The Universal boss follows a pattern to build an innings. Whenever he starts an innings, he takes nearly ten balls before setting the stage on fire. Those initial balls are taken for reading the pitch and conditions. But during that initial period, he never leaves his slot balls.
Yet another factor that makes him successful is his knack for finding the bowlers to target and play long innings.
“When he finds (a bowler) threatening, who could get him out, he is prepared to play even sometimes an over where an odd single is scored. Then he will target one or two bowlers. He is a smart guy. ” – Sachin Tendulkar.