As thrilling as he is to watch in full destruction mode, Chris Gayle is also an enigma.
At best, one can accuse the 40-year-old West Indies legend of being a man who has full faith in his own ability.
But, increasingly, there are times when it feels he’s jet-setting around the world T20 circuit on reputation alone and his stint with the Jozi Stars in this year’s was one of them.
ALSO READ: Five cricket World Cup flops
101 runs in six innings, of which 54 came in Sunday’s astonishing collapse against the Tshwane Spartans, attested to his decreasing influence.
Not that he sees it that way.
In fact, Gayle ended his MSL campaign on a sour note, complaining how his meagre returns are a sign that he does get the respect he deserves.
“As soon as I don’t perform for two or three games, then Chris Gayle is the burden for the team,” he said.
“I’m not talking for this team only. This is something I’ve analysed over the years playing franchise cricket. I’m always a burden if I don’t score runs, two, three, four times. It seems like that one particular individual is the burden for the team. And then you will hear bickering. I’m not going to get respect. People don’t remember what you have done for them. I don’t get respect.”
What he needs to realise sooner or later is that this is part and parcel of being a veteran sportsman.
Fickle fans and observers will start questioning your age and it’s not like Gayle has done himself much favours in the past year.
He only scored 243 runs in 10 innings in the Caribbean Premier League, a haul that included one brutal knock of 116.
Gayle only averaged 30.25 at the World Cup to boot.
He’s not bad, he’s just becoming more regularly mediocre.
“I’m talking generally. Even from players as well, I’m talking. Players, management, head of management, board members. Chris Gayle never get no respect. Once Chris Gayle fails, it’s the end of his career, he is no good, he is the worst player and all these other things.
“I’ve generally overcome these things and I expect these things and I have lived with these things.”
Even though the Stars – who’ve lost six out of six in 2019 – were “bad to watch”, they have the small consolation of the “Universe Boss” defying his own schedule to appear in this season’s tournament simply because of their environment.
“I had so much fun last year. I didn’t plan to come to play this year but because of the spirit last year, the dressing room environment was so fantastic, I just wanted to come and play. It wasn’t about money at all, there was no negotiation, I said ‘just sign it up but I won’t play the full tournament’,” said Gayle.