NEW DELHI, India – Veteran West Indies opener Chris Gayle believes mental toughness, rest and proper management of his body will be key to his success in his fifth ICC 50-overs World Cup which bowls off in England at month-end.
At 39-years-old, the left-hander will be one of the oldest players on show and with 289 One-Day Internationals under his belt, will be the second most experienced player at the showpiece – only behind India’s MS Dhoni.
“Age catches up as you ain’t getting any younger but the most important thing for me is the mental part of the game. It is not so much for the physical side of the game anymore. I have not done much fitness in the last couple of months,” Gayle told the Press Trust of India.
“I use my experience and mental aspect. I have not done gym for some time. Like I said I am just taking a lot of rest, getting a lot of massage, lots of stretching, just trying to stay fresh for games. I know what is required to keep me going on the field.”
There were some doubts about Gayle when he returned against England earlier this year but he quickly silenced his detractors with a Man-of-the-Series 424 runs which helped West Indies draw the five-match rubber, 2-2.
He has since been named in the Windies’ 15-man World Cup squad where he will serve as Jason Holder’s vice-captain.
Gayle, who has amassed 10 151 ODI run along with 25 hundreds, said his experience would also be critical during the upcoming May 30 to July 14 World Cup campaign.
“It is a funny game you know. When the World Cup comes, hopefully, the runs would flow. I have a lot of experience so I know what it is like. I am just happy with the way I am batting right now and hope to carry on,” Gayle noted.
“I could never dream of playing so many World Cups but it has happened. It shows consistency in the career. That keeps you going and earns a lot of praise.
“Hard work in the last couple of years has paid off. People want to see you more and you are trying to deliver as much as possible.”
In the twilight of what has been a stellar career in all formats – he has played 103 Tests and scored two triple centuries – Gayle said his major motivation now was keeping fans happy.
“Honestly [I do it for] the fans, I am not going to lie. Maybe couple of years ago the thought did cross [my mind of retirement]. Then the fans came out and said ‘don’t go’. They actually drive me to go on,” the Jamaican said.
“I know nothing lasts forever and hopefully I can give them a few more games and it also pushes you to win the World Cup.”
Gayle announced earlier this year he would retire from ODIs following the World Cup. (CMC)