MiWay T20 Challenge
Gayle's Dolphins debut unclear
Chris Gayle (Gallo Images)
Durban - Chris Gayle was officially unveiled as a Dolphins player on Tuesday, though there remained a fair amount of uncertainty as to when he would make his official debut in the domestic T20 Challenge.
The West Indian, one of the most explosive T20 batsmen in the game, arrived in the country on Sunday night, nursing a grade two groin injury which he picked up while on duty for the Barisal Burners in the Bangladesh Premier League.
“He began treatment on his injured groin yesterday after meeting with our medical team,” said KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union chief executive Jesse Chellan.
"At this point it’s difficult to say how soon he will be available.
“It all depends on how quickly his body responds to the treatment, so it’s a little bit up in the air at the moment.”
Gayle, who was scheduled to land in Durban on Friday, postponed his arrival and quietly slipped into the country two days later.
The veteran top-order batsman missed the Dolphins' T20 opener against the Impi on Sunday, with the coastal side bagging a three-run win.
He was not walking too freely when he arrived for the media conference, but said he was “feeling a bit better”, though he was also non-committal as to when he would be able to play.
“The last couple of days have been improving,” Gayle said.
“I’m walking much better than when the injury actually happened.
“So it’s slowly progressing and we’ll have to manage it.
"Hopefully I’m back on the park as quickly as possible, but I think we’ll take each day in its stride.”
When he does eventually take to the field, Gayle will wear the number 333 on his back - symbolising his highest score in Test cricket, which he made against Sri Lanka in his final series before falling out with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) in December 2010.
He has since become a freelancer in cricket’s most popular format, playing domestically in Zimbabwe, Australia, Bangladesh and India.
Gayle, who averages 40.97 in 20-over cricket and possesses a lethal strike rate of 154.88, said he looked forward to playing for the Dolphins.
“Unfortunately I missed the start, but hopefully things work out accordingly," he said.
“I’m ready to play whatever role the team actually needs me to and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
"I want to help the youngsters and share my experience with them.”
Lance Klusener, the interim Dolphins coach who took over from Graham Ford last month, said he expected Gayle to play a two-fold role for his side.
“Not only is he here to help the team on the field, but off it as well," Klusener said.
“We want them to feed off him and learn."