West Indian batsman Chris Gayle, who finished a disappointing year in the Indian Premier League with the Royal Challengers Bangalore, said he was now looking forward to his 100th Test match, which will be played in Jamaica in June against New Zealand.
Gayle was in indifferent form throughout the seventh edition of the IPL as the Royal Challengers crashed out despite several international heavyweights in their ranks. But the Jamaican, who manages to retain his million-dollar smile despite upheavals on the cricket field, said life will go on.
"We are all disappointed and hurting. We didn't make it to the final for the last two years, so we wanted to make it this year very badly. We had a new faces in the team as well but it just didn't happen. Life goes on and we are still going to keep pushing next year and play better as a team," Gayle said at the launch of his own brand of shoes.
However, with the next IPL still a year away, Gayle has turned his attention on his centenary Test match, to be played in his hometown next month. The swashbuckling left-handed opener, who smashed the IPL record of 175 last year, said the 100th Test would mean a lot to him, especially after battling injuries and battles with the West Indian Cricket Board, a struggle that saw him being suspended.
"It will mean a lot to me. I have been serving West Indies cricket for the last 13 years and going on to 14 years now, I am actually looking forward to this milestone. I have missed out on the last couple of months because of injury.
"I was supposed to get past this milestone a long time back but it didn't happen. As a cricketer, these things happen and you pick injuries at crucial times. I still have an injury now and I am trying to get it sorted as quickly as possible so I can be fully fit for the special occasion. It is going to be played at home so it is a big occasion for me and for the people back home too. I don't have much time but hopefully it work out and I will be back on the field quickly."
Gayle had missed the tour of New Zealand, where he would have certainly reached the coveted milestone. He picked up an injury during the West Indies' ODI series in India and it ruled him out of the flight Down Under. The 34-year-old also missed out on RCB's first four games in the United Arab Emirates after another spate of injuries started travelling him since the ICC World T20.
Gayle is currently in Germany consulting doctors over his troubled back, in a bid to be completely fit before the Kiwis come calling on the return tour.
"It (the injury) started at the end of the ICC World T20. I thought initially it was a simple thing but I went back home for a couple of days. Then I travelled back to Dubai to play in the IPL and when I started training I found it difficult. I could not bat properly and bending was a problem and sprinting between the wickets was a problem even though you guys don't see me running much. It was difficult but I tried my best," said Gayle, who averages 42.01 from his 99 Tests, with a highest of 333.
In an era where the West Indies have lost their clout over world cricket, Gayle still happens to be the only superstar from the cluster of islands and the Caribbean nation would be hoping that he shrugs off his horror form in the IPL to bounce back in style back home in Jamaica.