CAPE TOWN – During his playing days Ashwell Prince felt the full ferocity of the “Gayle Force” enough times to know that all the research and team analysis in the world cannot stop Chris Gayle when the big Jamaican finds his rhythm.
It is for this reason that Prince, now in his new role as Cape Town Blitz coach, prefers not to focus too much on trying to stop the individual, but rather the entire Jozi Stars team in the crunch Mzansi Super League showdown at Newlands this evening.
“I think there are obviously a lot of good players in all the teams. Playing against players like AB (de Villiers) and Chris is part of our job. We will go through all the players in the opposition line-up in our team meeting,” the former Proteas left-hander said.
“We are trying to focus on team effort. We are trying to put the emphasis on the team. I would like to think we as a group are up for the fight.”
But when pressed into a corner about how the Blitz were indeed going stop a superstar like Gayle, that has over 12 000 runs, including 21 centuries in the shortest format, Prince counter-attacked like the feisty southpaw that he is.
“We have people that can be brilliant on the day too. Quinny was that guy in the last game!” Prince exclaimed. “In the shortest format you can get away with a one guy having a good game.
“People like AB, Quinny, Chris, they can all play an innings that wins a game single-handedly sometimes. But that’s the nature of the game. It is not a Test match that swings back and forth.”
De Kock certainly does not stand back for Gayle - or anyone else in world cricket for that matter - when the mood takes him, like it did last Saturday evening at SuperSport Park. Even with the Blitz middle-order disintegrating at the one end - 83/0 to 101/8 in the space of 25 balls - the Proteas wicket-keeper still flayed away to register the second century of the MSL T20 season.
It certainly is not going to be a night for the bowlers with Gayle set to partner Reeza Hendricks at top of the order for Jozi Stars. Hendricks has been the sensation of the MSL T20 thus far, after striking back-to-back centuries over the past weekend.
Hendricks’ form has been so striking that it even caught Gayle’s attention while the “Universe Boss” was away playing in the T10 League in the United Arab Emirates.
“I am looking forward to opening the batting with him (Hendricks). With his form, maybe it can actually take a bit of pressure off me. You guys keep mentioning my name, but Hendricks is the guys you should actually be wary of.
“I am just looking to get off to a good start with him and enjoy the moment.
“I would love Hendricks to make it three-in-a-row! That would be nice to see!” Gayle said.@ZaahierAdams