Mumbai: Explosive West Indies batsman Chris Gayle on Wednesday said he has still not completely recovered from the hamstring injury, which had ruled him out for the Royal Challengers Bangalore's first four matches.
"I haven't recovered fully. Still bearing some discomfort at this point in time, so I am just trying to monitor things as I go on. Those things are in places and you need to take it in stride as you go," Gayle told PTI in Mumbai at the sidelines of the adidas Fifa flag bearers event.
Gayle has scored 85 runs in three matches so far, and has shown glimpses of his potential in these games. The Jamaican said he enjoys opening the innings with diminutive wicket-keeper batsman Parthiv Patel, as he eases off the pressure. "It is good to open the batting with him. He is an attacking player as well. He can ease some of the pressure at the top of the order. So you can give him more time to bat, you don't want him to bat much deeper within the team and the team will actually benefit," he said.
The duo had provided a blistering start for the Virat Kohli-led Bangalore outfit but their similar dismissals changed the complexion of the game, which resulted in the visitors losing the tie by 19 runs against defending champions Mumbai Indians.
"Two same dismissals last night was unfortunate and that couldn't take us across the line for victory," Gayle said. Asked about the team's chances at half way through the tournament, Gayle said, "we are not out of it. We are down but not out. Seven games, lost four and won three. So just (need) to gain momentum by getting some wins back to back and that can change the entire face of RCB. And then we can look to push for the final four and then go on from strength to strength. We are still backing ourselves to get the job done."
There was an ugly on-field spat between RCB bowler Mitchell Starc and Mumbai Indians' batsman Kieron Pollard last night but Gayle said these things happen in cricket. "It is an intense game. Two teams down and looking to get two points for the team. It is one of those moments. These things happen in cricket. It is not going to be the last for these things to happen in cricket and it is not the first that has happened in cricket also," Gayle said.
The incident referred to was the hurling of the cricket bat by West Indies all-rounder Pollard at Australian left-arm pacer Starc after the latter delivered the ball to him despite the batsman having backed off from the crease. It was an ugly incident as Pollard had advanced menacingly at Starc before throwing his bat which, luckily, hit the turf well away from the bowler.
Both players had to be separated by umpires S Ravi and K Srinath and they had a talk with RCB captain Virat Kohli too while Gayle pacified Pollard. There have been quite a few battles between West Indies players and Australians recently, and asked about the coincidence, Gayle said there is no rivalry as such in IPL as teams have players from both the countries.
"We battle internationally. Pollard has Australians in his team, I have the same. It is just that things go off on a particular day. There is no rivalry when you look at those sort of things. We are in a group so it is a different scenario and it is not international so it is a different scenario," he said without elaborating.
Gayle had performed an angry 'Gangnam Dance' after the Caribbean side's victory over Australia in the T20 World Cup at Bangladesh, in response to Aussie all-rounder James Faulkner's comment that he didn't like the West Indians. He had earlier told the franchise's website that he is looking forward to do the Gangnam with Yuvraj Singh, and asked if they have danced, he replied on a lighter note, "We haven't performed it as yet. Still keeping up with the leg. Trying to get fit on my dance and Gangnam and then pull another muscle."
The 34-year old was in awe of his RCB team mate A B de Villiers and said the South African is spectacular. "He practices those shots he is capable of doing. He practices hard and makes it look easy. He is spectacular and can score all along the ground. What a player he is! He is very quick on his feet. He makes things much more easier for us and that is more important," he said.
Gayle will play his 100th Test match in a home series against New Zealand next month and the West Indian said it is a big occasion for him and joked that he is only a 100 shy of equalling Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar's record of 200 Test match appearances.
"I am definitely looking forward to that. Especially given a chance that it is going to be at home, so that is a big occasion. It is going to be a spectacularly milestone occasion for me to get past the 100 Test match and just another 100 to go to catch up with Sachin. So I am not too far away to catch up Sachin to 200 Test match," he said.
Asked if he could play 200 Test matches, Gayle replied, "Oh yes. I am going to play 201 Test matches."
The all-rounder is a football fan and said he is rooting for hosts Brazil at the World Cup in 2014. "I am a Brazil fan. I am a Man U (Manchester United fan), I am a Cristiano Ronaldo fan as well, so I support Real Madrid at times," he said.
The World Cup is slated to be held from June 12 to July 13. Two children each from Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore will head to Sao Paulo to see a round of 16 match at the Mecca of football, as part of the adidas Fifa flag bearers programme....