World’s number one spinner Saeed Ajmal said recently in an interview that Chris Gayle will be on his ‘hit list’ in the next month’s Champions Trophy.

[caption id="attachment_862" align="alignright" width="300"]Chris Gayle last played ODI against Pakistan in 2011 World Cup when he was dismissed on eight runs and West Indies lost the quarter-final (Photo: AFP) Chris Gayle last played ODI against Pakistan in 2011 World Cup when he was dismissed on eight runs and West Indies lost the quarter-final (Photo: AFP)[/caption]

In this era of fast cricket, one must have got the gumption to make such a statement about a batsman, especially about the one who is in the best of his form. However, taking up such challenges is customary in cricket, but what is rare is to do what you boast of. Below are a few statistics which shows past performances of the two players.

Pace bowlers are normally more successful in one-day cricket than spinners, and also play a relatively larger role in a team’s victory. Gayle has been dismissed 220 times in ODIs, out which 171 were against fast bowlers and 38 were against spin (11 times run-out). This shows that Gayle does not surrender against spinners so easily. Out of 38 times Gayle was dismissed against spinners, five times India’s Harbhajan Singh and three times Zimbabwe’s Prosper Utseya sent him to the pavilion. No other spinner could dismiss Gayle more than twice.

On the other hand, Ajmal has taken 125 wickets in his career and 23 opening batsmen have so far been fallen prey to his deliveries, from whom Alstair Cook, Lendl Simmons, Andrew Strauss, Sachin Tendulkar, Steven Davies, Kevin Pietersen and Aaron Redmond were dismissed twice.

Gayle has played 27 ODIs against Pakistan and was bowled out in all the matches. He was dismissed 22 times by pacers and thrice by spinners – twice by Arshad Khan and once by Mushtaq Ahmed – while he was run-out twice.

Mushtaq Ahmed was the last Pakistani spinner to bowl out Gayle on April 23, 2000 when the West Indian batting great was out for a duck. Interestingly, it was the only instance when Gayle was dismissed on zero and he came to bat on the fifth position in the match. He has never been dismissed by a Pakistani spinner after that.

Ajmal himself has played three ODIs against Gayle. He came face-to-face with the West Indian left-hander once but failed to take his wicket. Gayle scored 122 runs in the match played at Abu Dhabi in November 2008, facing 34 balls by Ajmal off 16 runs.

Gayle has never been dismissed by a spinner in the Champions Trophy. He represented West Indies 14 times in the tournament and was out 12 times – 11 times by pacers and once run-out.

As this year’s Champions Trophy is going to be held in England, it would be pertinent to mention Gayle’s performance in the country. Gayle has played 23 ODIs in England and did not match in two of them. The 21 times Gayle batted, he was dismissed 19 times – only twice against spin bowling. And Graeme Swann was the bowler on both occasions.

Gayle last became victim of a spinner in November 2012 when Bangladesh’s Sohag Gazi clinched his wicket. It was also the maiden wicket of Gazi’s career.

Only time will tell whether Ajmal would succeed in claiming Gayle’s wicket. But Misbah must do a favour to Ajmal by giving him chance to bowl in the opening overs, because Junaid Khan and Mohammad Ajmal will not let Gayle stand on the crease for long.
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