A few days ago Online Sport Editor Oli Davis attended Chris Gayle’s press conference in Taunton, despite only having been at Somerset a matter of days, it is clear to see the man they nickname ‘world boss’ has settled in:
“Am I late?” The first words that the iconic Twenty-20 mercenary uttered, strolling into the press room at a sunny County Ground, Taunton. Indeed Gayle was late for his press conference, almost fittingly, as his broad smile accompanied the aura surrounding one of the most naturally gifted cricketers of our generation. It was clear to see how proud Club Chairman Andy Nash was, to be introducing a player of Gayle’s stature was a monumental occasion, especially in light of the Jamaican’s 243 runs scored in only 2 innings for the club.
Gayle was enthusiastic to be playing for Somerset, citing the questionable British weather as the only drawback. After a deal to bring the ‘World Boss’ to Taunton fell through in 2012, never has the phrase ‘better late than never’ been so apt. In spite of only having been at the Country’s smallest cricketing county a matter of weeks, his impact both on and off the pitch has been extraordinary. Aside from the power performances on the pitch, he’s been pulling pints for fans at a local ground off the pitch, “it’s nice to socialise with your fans, meeting new people, enjoy yourself and enjoy life as well.”
His stay in the South West may be brief this year but there is already talk for his return. “Will you sign me?” he asks the club Chairman after being posed a question regarding his potential return, both Nash and Gayle seemed more than open to the possibility. An appearance on T20 Finals day is also potentially on the cards as Gayle looked happy to consider the idea should everything fall into place, including Somerset making the final day.
Whilst of course a majestic cricketer, pummeling balls into oblivion seems effortless for a man of his strength, it is his patience that is also striking. Everyone wants a selfie with the man, to ask questions and to have his signature, everywhere he goes. Yet his calm and chilled persona prevails every time. “Now let’s go for a pint” was his line at the culmination of the conference. It is easy to see why the ‘Gayle Force’ is an iconic figure everywhere he goes.