When Chris Gayle entered the Newlands media centre on Monday, his larger-than-life presence was immediately evident.
Nevermind the fact that he had travelled from the UAE, Gayle was still as cool as we all know him to be as he faced up to the Cape media ahead of his Mzansi Super League debut.
But the original ‘Universe Boss’ says there is another champion in the Jozi Stars side that the Cape Town Blitz should be wary of at Newlands on Tuesday (7pm start).
Reeza Hendricks has set the tournament alight with two hundreds in a row, and he is showing why he is a serious contender to become a permanent fixture in the Proteas limited-overs teams.
So, while cricket fans will be excited to see the West Indian master-blaster in action on Tuesday, the left-hander says Hendricks is the one to watch.
But of course, Gayle is the box-office attraction, and the Newlands hierarchy will hope that it will result in a few more spectators coming out to watch the action live.
“I’d love Hendricks to make it three in a row! That will be nice to see. Two centuries back-to-back is always something good, something thrilling from a batting point of view,” Gayle said at Newlands on Monday.
“Given the chance to open the batting with him, it would be something nice, to look forward to. With him in form, it can actually take a bit of pressure off me.
“You guys keep mentioning my name, but it should actually be Hendricks that you should be wary of!
“Looking forward to try and get a good start with him, if it does happen, and just enjoy the moment with him.”
Gayle’s arrival will strengthen a Jozi Stars line-up that have found their touch after a poor start to the tournament.
Coach Enoch Nkwe has seen his team move up to third on the log with 15 points after six matches, with the Blitz leading on 25 after seven.
So, it’s all to play for in the last 10 days of league games before the qualifier on December 14, and Gayle will be a key part of their plans – as a big hitter himself, and guiding his teammates.
“I share my point of view and keep it as simple as possible. Not everyone is a power-hitter, and not to say you are going to try to hit sixes like Chris Gayle. But there are ways and means to get the strike-rate up, when to take on a bowler and pull the trigger,” he said.
“Jozi Stars are actually peaking at the right time. It’s good to have a win under our belts. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, up against a top guns. Hopefully we can continue to win.”@ashfakmohamed