It was the summer of 09/10. I was the ground announcer for the PM’s XI v West Indies game at Manuka Oval in Canberra.
I’d watched in awe as Chris Gayle had torn apart the PM’s XI attack in a batting display, the likes of which I’d never ever seen before first hand. Gayle was unstoppable. He blasted 146 off 89 balls and helped his team to the mammoth total of 5/399 off a rain affected 45 overs.
As I recall it, Gayle hit boundaries from the first deliveries he faced. And the bowling attack wasn’t too shabby either. James Pattinson was supposed to be the home sides strike bowler. He finished with the figures of 0/91.
Gayle got his 50 off 23 balls and his 100 off 57. He eventually holed out to Matthew Hayden, Alex Keith the bowler in the 29th over and the game was all but over. The PM’s XI were brave in their run chase but fell well short of the mark.
As ground announcer, I was involved in the on ground presentation after the match. This included interviewing the captains and the man of the match on public address system. Needless to day, Gayle was Man of the Match.
Gayle is an imposing man. He’s huge. He smiled as I stood beside him with my microphone and I said to him quote….”Chris Gayle…you are a freak !”
The smile disappeared from his face. As I pushed the microphone towards him he scowled at me in a somewhat menacing way. I didn’t know what he was going to do next. There was an awkward silence out in the middle of Manuka Oval. After a few seconds, the big man spoke in his thick Jamaican accent.
“Dat word,” he said, “Dat word means something completely different where I come from”
More awkward silence.
Then we moved along to talk about the innings itself. It took a while for him to warm up after our bad start, but eventually I got a laugh out of him.
It’s more than a little ironic that when I trod on Mr Gayle’s cultural toes, he was incensed, but that he seems to think it’s ok if the shoe’s on the other foot.