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Chip on his shoulder (HOT SPOT)


Justin Marville

Chip on his shoulder (HOT SPOT)

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GUESS WHO’S BACK dominating the headlines.
No, not you, Owen Arthur.
   Try the other man who is prone to air his mind in public.
   Because Christopher Henry Gayle doesn’t know any other avenue to do such and neither would he want to.
Who needs Brett Favre when we in the Caribbean have our very own media tyrant who knows more drama than TNT?
   In case you haven’t heard, seen, read, been emailed or texted to, cricket’s most controversial is being cricket’s most controversial again, finding yet another means to grab the one thing he has always craved – attention.
   Yes, the same attention that wasn’t his for all of the 19 days subsequent to the completion of a mammoth 333 in Galle.
   Forget runs, records and recognition because they’re just mere by-products of what Gayle does in his downtime.
   And it’s not that he wants to be liked in the media. Neither does he want to be hated in the media.
   He just wants to be in the media – period.
   Unless you have a better explanation for the reason a man would tweet that he’s taking a break from Test cricket when the next assignment in whites is still some four months adrift.
   That’s right. Our boy is on the “new” media now, using Twitter to announce an anticipated break from the longer format of the game on Sunday just hours after the conclusion of the Sri Lanka Test series.
   “Test series officially over!!! Might as well. Thinks that’s me for white clothes, only will be watching attacking batters in T Cricket now!!!,” said Gayle from his henrygayle account.
   Maybe he had nothing else to do during those rainy days in Pallekele.
   Maybe he was making sure that the IPL (Indian Premier League) franchises fully understand he doesn’t intend to let this silly thing called Test cricket be a distraction – though his public antics already serve that purpose.
   Or maybe, just maybe, he needed to ensure he remained relevant in the media’s eye.
   And just like clockwork we swiftly obliged, broadcasting Gayle’s most recent rant across the TV, radio, newspaper, website and any other place that would get the public’s attention.
   A local businessman was needlessly gunned down. An unidentified body washed up on Consett Bay and organisers hinted at the end of the Run Barbados Marathon.
   But the headline GAYLE OUT made Monday’s Back Page long before the date, THE NATION’S address and the price of the actual daily edition.
   Somewhere at the Norman Manley International Airport today a towering Jamaican figure with an iPod is wearing the grin of a Cheshire cat.
   Don’t expect to hear him blasting any Jennifer Hudson tunes, though, because, unlike the full-figured songbird, Chris likes living under our spotlight.
   Or lest we forget the circumstances surrounding this latest cry for attention – No. 536 by count – which followed his prior commitment to West Indies and Test cricket in October.
   The rains took care of the proposed One-Day series against Sri Lanka and the cricket world has already turned its gaze down under towards two groups of men playing for some nondescript urn.
Without the tweet Gayle would be running the risk of being irrelevant for the next three months!
   And Kumar Sangakarra thought this man was at his most dangerous with willow in hand!
   If only he had spoken to media officers Imran Khan and Philip Spooner.
   Ironically enough, it’s their employer, the West Indies Cricket Board, who is to blame for creating the media monster affectionately known as “Cramps”.
   And this is long before Ken Gordon gave Chris the further voice as captain.
   No, it probably began when Gayle was wrongfully dropped from the Test side following a decision to represent the West Indies in the inaugural Double Wicket World Championship (DWWC), instead of appearing for Jamaica in the Carib Beer International Challenge final.
   He was now in the spotlight. He was now a controversial figure.
He now knew what it was he wanted.
   Since then it’s been the Gayle channel 24/7 with no ads to interrupt the feed.
   They gave him an “unsatisfactory” One-Day team in 2007. He responded in the media, lambasting the board on a Digicel website.
   They criticised him following a disastrous tour to Australia in 2008, he responded in the media, saying if a certain selector was retained he would step down as captain.
   They sent players at late notice for a One-Day series in England, and – you guessed it – he responded in the media by lambasting the board yet again.
   They didn’t even have to provoke him at home this year, but he was in the media nonetheless, hinting at another issue with another high-ranking official.
   Then there was the time the media actually went to him in England last year. Oh boy!
   It’s tantamount to leaving an unguarded buffet table in front a homeless man and expecting restraint.
   But the vagrant’s response probably would seem more disciplined than Gayle’s, which included such comments like the captaincy being too heavy a burden and “I would not be so sad if” Test cricket died.
   Sounds like a man who has a history of looking for the spotlight.
   So talk about his cavalier approach.
Talk about his runs.
Talk about him being an inspirational leader.
   Christopher Henry Gayle doesn’t care.
Once you keep talking about him.

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