ABU DHABI: Wearing a beaming smile and sunglasses under a helmet, 'Universe Boss' Chris Gayle seems to have played his last World Cup game and the big-hitting Jamaican is hoping to exit the international stage in front of his home fans.
The happenings inside the Sheikh Zayed Stadium during and after the T20 World Cup game against Australia suggested that the swashbuckling Gayle has played his final game as he walked off to a standing ovation from his teammates after scoring a nine-ball 15 on Saturday.
The Windies great was seen signing on the camera and also distributed his cricketing gears to the fans in the stands after his team lost the match by eight wickets.
However, later it came to light that he is only "semi-retired" as of now.
"I'm semi-retired. I'm one away," Gayle said ahead of the game, according to a report in the t20worldcup.com. After the match, speaking on the ICC's post-match Facebook live show, Gayle clarified he has not yet retired but hinted that he is set to sign off.
"I was just having some fun today. Put everything that happened aside. I was just interacting with the fans in the stand and just having some fun seeing as it's going to be my last World Cup game."
Asked to clarify, Gayle laughed: "I'd love to play one more World Cup. But I don't think they will allow me."
"It's been a phenomenal career. I didn't announce any retirement but they actually give me one game in Jamaica to go in front of my home crowd, then I can say 'hey guys, thank you so much.'
"Let's see. If not, I'll announce it, long time and then I'll be joining DJ Bravo in the backend and say thanks to each and everyone but I can't say that as yet."
Gayle, 42, also dismissed Mitchell Marsh and celebrated by jumping on the Australian when he was on his way back.
In his cameo, Gayle bludgeoned Pat Cummins for six off the first ball of the third over to move to 15, but dragged the next delivery onto his stumps.
As his West Indies team-mates gave a standing ovation by the boundary, Gayle waved his bat to all corners of the ground as he left the pitch. This was one ball after hitting his 1045th six in T20 cricket. Very few players have had more impact on T20 cricket than Christopher Henry Gayle.
Gyale and Bravo were also given guard of honour at the end of the game and it triggered speculations that both of them have retired when only Bravo had publicly announced that he will retire after Saturday's game.
Commentator Ian Bishop said on air, "Everything points to this being the last time we will see Gayle in West Indies' colours.
Former India star VVS Laxman led the plaudits, describing Gayle as T20's greatest player.
Gayle, who made his debut for the West Indies in 1999, was pivotal in their two Two World Cup successes and said he was thrilled to share his last match with his long-time teammate Bravo.
A two-time T20 World Cup-winning superstar, Gayle has 1899 runs in 79 T20Is. He averaged 28.11 and struck at 137.31.
Gayle's tally includes two centuries and 14 half-centuries. He also scalped 20 wickets in the shortest format. A regular opener, Gayle often batted at number 3 in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup.
In his T20 career, Gayle scored a total of 14,321 runs from 445 innings, including 22 centuries and a world record score of 175 off just 66 balls for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2013 IPL season.
Gayle hasn't played a Test match since 2014 while his last ODI appearance came in 2019. In all-format legend, Gayle has 7214 runs in 103 Tests and 10480 runs in 301 ODIs.
He is a former West Indies captain too.