This gentleman from Jamaica loves sending the seamers over the rope. And, it’s the same treatment when you deliver a slip of the tongue as well. You throw a bouncer on the leg side and the six-foot something would send that over the top. Well, that’s Christopher Henry Gayle for you.
The tall muscular left-handed batsman starts by telling his readers that he is a weirdo; then takes them down the memory lane, from being a shy, skinny cricket-obsessed kid to a flamboyant, self-styled ‘world boss’. “I am a weirdo. You think you know me? You don’t know me.” His narrative is laced with grandeur. Apart from exploiting the shortest format of the game, Gayle talks about his Test cricket feats, and given a chance, he would love to add more wickets to his Test career. He says he was the first to hit a six of the first ball against Australia in a Test match. “The bowler had opened the game with a spin and I felt disrespected. It was a Test match, why start with a spinner? That got me in the mood and I smashed six after six.”
Life for the flamboyant and colourful cricketer was not always as rosy. One incident forever changed the way he looked at life. It was when he had his heart surgery in 2005. “I cheated death. I realised that I have got one life and I decided to live it to the fullest. People think that I have ‘I don’t care attitude’ but that’s Chris Gayle being himself. And no one can stop me from having fun.” The book mostly talks about his struggles during his growing-up years. He says there was not enough water in their house and they had to fend for food themselves. However, completely unapologetic about his lifestyle and brash attitude, he goes on to justify some of the controversies he has been involved in. He says that his controversies are bygone issues and he has no regrets. “We are sportsmen and nothing goes smoothly for us. We can’t avoid controversies. There will be people who will create things but you got to be prepared for whatever comes. I face it and make it a point that when it’s time, I come back on the top again. You just have to be more dominant and go about things smartly with hope in your eyes.”
He likes to go over the top—a ‘six machine’ as he is, he also calls himself a true entertainer. He has played for 11 franchises in T20 leagues across the world, and made fans cheer for him while playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) as well. His book also mentions his relationship with Royal Challengers players and gives us a sneak peek into the extravagant style of Vijay Mallya (RCB owner). He narrates his five-day experience at Mallya’s magnificent bungalow and goes on to address him as ‘universe boss’.
He says writing is hard work but it’s relaxing, and adds that playing cricket is more hardwork. “Penning down incidents from one’s growing-up years is like telling a story. There are couple of Jamaican slangs in it too.” The book also tells us about Gayle’s “fantastic” experience of becoming a father. “Being a father is a different challenge altogether. My daughter is my most prized possession.”
In Six Machine, Gayle compares himself with Cristiano Ronaldo. “We both grew up with nothing but excelled in our respective careers. He was never given his due credit and neither was I.” The soon-to-turn 37-year-old hopes that through his book he can inspire young cricketers. Young people should dream big, he signs off.