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Time to Bash

Chris Gayle is hoping for an improvement on his Bangladesh form during the Big Bash.

SYDNEY – West Indies opener Chris Gayle might have been a dud on the just concluded tour of Bangladesh, failing in Tests, One-Day Internationals and a Twenty20 International, but he rolled into Sydney last night stating that the Bangladesh tour was behind him and he was hoping to hit better form for the Sydney Thunder.

“I look at it like the ol’ saying, ‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’ – what happens in Bangladesh, stays in Bangladesh,” Gayle said of failing in eight outings against the lowly ranked Asians.

“I’m definitely due. It wasn’t the best series, but those things happen. It’s cricket. You have your ups and downs, and you need to rebound as quickly as possible.

“This is the perfect opportunity to do it. Hopefully I can contribute and play some exciting cricket.”

And the Sydney Thunder will be hoping the big Jamaican can deliver the goods when he strolls to the middle of ANZ Stadium tomorrow night to take on the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League.

Gayle, 33, has become one of the most recognisable faces in world cricket by earning millions of dollars playing for 10 different Twenty20 teams in six different countries, mostly accommodated during his year-long impasse with the West Indies Cricket Board over comments he made about the board and Windies coach Ottis Gibson.

Gayle recently dropped to No.2 in the world T20 rankings behind Kiwi Brendon McCullum, but he is widely regarded as the best player of the format.

“I don’t mind the title of being the best Twenty20 player,” Gayle said. “I play T20 around the world. I think I’ve dominated all around the world, getting a few hundreds. It’s one of those things you have to accept.

“In the internationals it doesn’t show I’m the No.1 T20 player because you have Brendon McCullum, who has done well in internationals the last few months. He’s a very dangerous player.”

David Warner and Shane Watson (Australians) are devastating in T20 as well. It’s going to be a challenge to try and maintain (being) at the top. And I haven’t even mentioned (Virender) Sehwag and guys like that.”

Gayle to the rescue

While Gayle could be excused for forgetting what country he was in, the Thunder hope he can rescue them after a seven-wicket flogging against cross-town rivals the Sydney Sixers last Saturday night. Gayle’s presence at the top of the order will give his teammates confidence against the Melbourne Renegades at ANZ Stadium tomorrow night.

Gayle has made millions of dollars playing for franchises in six different countries, including Bangladesh, India, Zimbabwe, England, the Caribbean and Australia. The Thunder threw big cash at him last summer, and the left-hander lived up to his top billing by blasting a third of the team’s overall runs. But he knows he will need plenty of support if the Thunder are to improve this year.

“I’m the big name in the team, and, being the big name, I need to make sure I’m doing my part and performing as well as possible,” Gayle said.

“(Last year) most of the guys lost form leading into the Big Bash. It was the first time being around a new franchise and there were a couple of new players as well. Hopefully this time around things can be different, everybody can be more relaxed and express themselves freely and enjoy the game,” he said.

Gayle smacked an unbeaten 75 to eliminate Australia in the ICC World T20 semi-finals, partied well into the morning and posted pictures of himself to his 378,000 Twitter fans.

Gayle vowed to again enjoy the best Sydney has to offer. For starters, he’s staying in the luxurious Quay West apartments in the city while his teammates are in Parramatta.†Other West Indians in Australia for the Big Bash are Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Kemar Roach and Marlon Samuels.

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