Sport

Gayle gives batting tips as he celebrates 33rd birthday

Saturday, September 22, 2012    

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AFP) — Hard-hitting West Indies opener Chris Gayle celebrated his 33rd birthday yesterday by telling batsmen how to hit sixes during the ongoing World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.

"It takes a bit of strength and once the ball is in your slot you go for it," Gayle said ahead of the West Indies' first match against Australia in Colombo today.

"It's instinct to be honest. You have to let the mind and body flow together. You don't want to get stuck in a two-minded situation.

"You just try and be natural out there and things will actually flow for you in the end," Gayle was quoted as saying by the West Indies Cricket Board in a statement.

Left-handed Gayle, whose 27 sixes are a tournament record in the World Twenty20, is one of the most feared batsmen in all formats of the game with a penchant for big hits against both pace and spin.

His rapid-fire 117 off 57 balls with 10 sixes and seven fours against South Africa in the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2007 has only been surpassed by Brendon McCullum's record 123 off 58 balls with seven sixes and 11 boundaries against Bangladesh yesterday as the highest individual score in the competition.

"The key is balance. You have to have good balance to be able to hit a lot of sixes," said the Jamaican, who also has two triple-centuries in Test cricket to his credit.

"I pay special emphasis to my balance. You have to realise that bowlers are not always going to make it easy for you. You have to create the shots, so you have to make sure you do it well."

Gayle said he looked forward to playing against Australia, who thrashed Ireland by seven wickets in their first game on Wednesday.

"The first game is vital," he said. "You don't want to play catch-up cricket in T20, so it's a very big match for us. It will also get our confidence going.

"In our team we bat right down, and bowling-wise we have spinners and fast bowlers. The key for us is to get to the second round and try and take it step by step."

The West Indies, one of the pre-tournament favourites, play Ireland on Monday.

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