CAPE TOWN - Jacques Kallis and Chris Gayle. Arguably there could not be two more polar opposite cricketers and personalities in the game.
Perhaps the only thing they do have in common is their second name, which is, of course Henry. But that is the beauty of the T20 Global League for it has brought these contrasting legends together for the Cape Town Knight Riders.
And there’s no doubt both will have a great part to play if the Knight Riders are to be successful in their maiden season, starting with the tournament opener against the Pretoria Mavericks at Newlands on 3 November.
“He’s actually a very chilled guy,” Kallis said at the team’s official launch at Newlands. “He’s at a stage of his career now, not that he needs to prove anything, but he wants to show that he’s still one of the best T20 players around.
“He is fit as ever, he’s been training hard. He’s done well now in the CPL (Caribbean Premier League), and I know there are lot of bowlers in South Africa who have lost a night’s sleep knowing that they have to bowl to Chris Gayle. That’s certainly not going to change anytime soon and hopefully he can hit some form and get us off to some flyers in the tournament.”
At 37-years-old Gayle is certainly approaching the twilight of his glorious career, but he remains one of the premier drawcards on the global T20 circuit.
It is not just his flashing blade that has blitzed 10 454 runs for eight different teams in T20 tournaments, but also the charisma and flamboyance that the big Jamaican brings to every team he plays for.
The “Universe Boss” will certainly bring in the crowds and is sure to have the Newlands faithful eating out of the palm of his hand in no time.
He has impressed his new captain JP Duminy already, especially with the form he is showing in the CPL at the moment, with scores of 93 off 47 balls and 71 not out off 55 balls, in his last two games for the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.
“I am very excited (about Gayle’s arrival). I am obviously hoping he is going to put some amazing performances in for the team. He’s a great team man. I haven’t necessarily played with him in the same team, but I have been on the receiving end of a few sixes and a few fours and hopefully he’ll put in a few good performances for the Knight Riders this year,” said Duminy.
I'm ready 🕺🏾 https://t.co/dCAgOly2z4
The Kolkata Knight Riders are renowned for lighting up tournament openers, most memorably when former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum blasted 158 in the first ever IPL match in 2008.
Kallis, then playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore, was ironically on the receiving end of the “McCullum Massacre” that evening and is hoping for his charges to put on a similar show in a couple of months time.
“It’s going to be a fantastic game. I can’t wait for it now. If we can get a packed Newlands, it is going to be wonderful atmosphere. I haven’t been involved in (Cape) Cobras cricket for four years, so it is nice to come back and be in charge of a Cape Town team,” Kallis said.