After scoring the fastest ODI double-hundred, against Zimbabwe on Tuesday, Chris Gayle admitted he had been under pressure to score runs following a lean run of form recently. Gayle’s 215, which came off 147 balls, was the fifth double-hundred in ODIs and the first in a World Cup, and his record 372-run stand with Marlon Samuels – the highest in ODIs – propelled West Indies to a formidable 372 for 2 in Canberra. Gayle said that people had been expecting him to score a double-hundred for a while now and was happy to deliver.
“There has been a lot of pressure. The runs haven’t been coming,” Gayle said. “It’s the first time in my career that so many people wanted me to score runs. The messages kept coming in – on Twitter. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen that so many people wanted me to perform. I’m glad I gave them something to cheer about.
“Since the four-fielder rule came in, I’ve maybe scored one half-century. It was a bit easy for batters to score more runs. Like I said, if I get it past 100, I’ll definitely try and make it a big one. I’m happy to get my first double century in ODI cricket – a lot of fans have tweeted about it since Rohit Sharma scored two double-hundreds. Everybody expected me to do it as well. I’m glad I got a chance to deliver today.”
Gayle’s last ODI hundred came in June 2013 against Sri Lanka at home. In 19 games since that hundred, prior to the match against Zimbabwe, Gayle had scored 274 at an average of 14.42 with just one fifty.
Coping with age and injury, Gayle said, were also challenges for him. Since November 2013, a hamstring and a lower back injury had impacted his presence in the West Indies side. He hoped the double-hundred and West Indies’ score against Zimbabwe would give the team some momentum going into the league match against South Africa on February 27.
“A lot of people see you on the field and they don’t see what you’re going through as well. I was struggling with injuries and these sort of things,” he said. “I got to push myself to try and get the preparation right – I’ve been restricted in that area as well. It’s been different and I’m not getting any younger as well. These sort of things you have to put in place and you have to get a performance out as well.
“I’m really happy. Let’s try and build this as much as possible. The team can gain some momentum going into the game against South Africa, which is an important one as well. Let’s finish it off and move ahead.”
Gayle had a quiet start to the innings and could have been out first ball with an appeal for lbw off Tinashe Panyangara. Gayle was given not out by the on-field umpire and a review declared the decision was an ‘umpire’s call’. Gayle admitted he had been nervous about the appeal and was happy to get a chance to score his double-century.
“Overall with the innings, I struggled at the start. It was scary, the first ball as well. I was like: ‘Come on, you’re not serious.. I can’t be out on this first ball.’ I needed a chance and I got a break and made the best use of it.”