The big Jamaican touched down in Joburg yesterday for a brief initial stint in the Mzansi Super League. Gayle will be in action at the Wanderers tonight for the Jozi Stars, who are opening their campaign against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants.
After that one match, Gayle will be jetting off to play in a T10 tournament in Dubai and then hopefully he’ll return to the Stars at the start of December for the final weeks of the MSL, looking to entertain and get his side into the play-offs.
Gayle like teammate Dan Christian, have become T20 “guns for hire”, going from league to league around the world, and as Gayle put it shortly after landing, making “money as well”.
However, the 39-year-old does have a particular fondness for South Africa and he is keen to see South Africa’s T20 League take off.
“Well I’m an entertainer, it’s all about entertainment, trying to get the League up and running. It didn’t happen last year and hopefully we can kick-start it now.”
Gayle has enjoyed great success at the Wanderers in various stints previously; for the West Indies he’s scored an ODI and a T20 International hundred there, while he enjoyed a stint with the Lions in the 2014/15 RamSlam.
I played with KG (Rabada), Quinny (De Kock) and Rassie (van der Dussen) and I’m really glad that many of the guys I played with before have been retained by the Stars.”
Cricket SA is relying on Gayle being a major attraction for its new competition, which will conclude with a final on December 16.
The visitors to the ‘Bullring’ today are not without a few big hitters of their own. The Port Elizabeth-based Giants are led by Jon-Jon Smuts who has played eight T20 Internationals for the Proteas, while Christiaan Joncker is also one of the biggest hitters of a ball in the country.
Aaron Phangiso and Junior Dala are armed with local knowledge of the Wanderers, and in Heino Kuhn and Ryan McLaren, the Giants have a pair of experienced veterans.
Today’s match will be the first taste that Johannesburg gets of this new competition, and with Gayle present and in good form recently too, there is sure to be plenty of entertainment.
The match starts at 7pm
Jozi Stars (from): Chris Gayle, Rassie van der Dussen, Dane Vilas (capt), Pite van Biljon, Dan Christian, Ryan Rickleton, Colin Savage, Delano Potgieter, Simon Harmer, Beuran Hendricks, Duanne Olivier, Eddie Leie, Sinethemba Queshile, Kagiso Rabada*, Reeza Hendricks*, Dwaine Pretorius*
* Still on tour with the Proteas
NMB Giants (from): JJ Smuts (capt), Heino Kuhn, Rudi Second, Ben Duckett, Christiaan Joncker, Marco Marais, Ryan McLaren, Sisanda Magala, Aaron Phangiso, Junior Dala, Lizaad Williams, Carmi Le Roux, Dyllan Matthews, Chris Morris*, Imran Tahir*, Jason Roy **
* Morris and Tahir still on tour with the Proteas
** Jason Roy is in Dubai for the T10s@shockerhess
Independent on Saturday