Port of Spain: Chris Gayle yesterday became the all-time highest West Indian run-scorer in one-day international cricket.
Going into the second ODI of the three-match series against India at the Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad needing just nine runs to surpass the tally of 10,405 by Brian Lara, the 39-year-old opening batsman played with exaggerated care for 21 deliveries before slashing left-arm seamer Khaleel Ahmed to the backward-point boundary to reach 11, lifting his overall tally to 10,408.
However, he was dismissed without adding to that score in the very next over, trapped leg-before by right-arm fast-medium bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar to have the West Indies at 45 for one in the tenth over replying to India’s total of 279 for seven.
This match was already an historic landmark for Gayle as it is his 300th ODI, taking him past Lara’s 299 as the most by a West Indian in the 50 overs-per-side format.
Having made his senior West Indies debut in an ODI against India in Toronto almost 20 years earlier, where he batted at number four in the order, Gayle had initially announced that he would be retiring from the format after the 2019 World Cup in England.
However, two weeks before the end of that tournament, with the West Indies eliminated from making the semi-finals, the hard-hitting Jamaican announced he would be playing in this series despite missing the preceding series of three T20 internationals due to his commitments with the Canadian T20 franchise competition.
Gayle had also expressed a desire to play a farewell Test in his native Jamaica, despite not featuring in the traditional format of the game at international level for almost five years.
That wish seems to have gone unheeded with Gayle, who turns 40 on September 21, not named in the West Indies squad of 13 for the two-Test series to be played in Antigua and Jamaica at the end of the month.
Legendary former fast bowlers Curtly Ambrose and Andy Roberts were among the most prominent critics of the decision to include Gayle in this ODI series given that he is unlikely to feature in the next World Cup in India in 2023, when he will be 43 years old.