Universe Boss Chris Gayle owns every T20 record that there is. He is the leading run-scorer in T20 cricket across all forms, the first batsman to score 10000 T20 runs, has the most centuries in the format (22), highest individual score, fastest century among many. However, the one feat Gayle is yet to conquer is to hit six sixes in an over. Gayle, who has played every format, including the T20 is now embarking on the latest adventure of his career, the Ultimate Kricket Challenge, which throws a new of challenges to the West Indies great. The tournament features one-on-one contests and Gayle, who will square off against Yuvraj Singh, is keen on emulating the former India batsman’s achievement from the 2007 World T20.
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Chris, you’re probably one of the very few players who has played all variants of cricket – T20Is, T10s and now the Ultimate Kricket Challenge. How much are you looking forward to this and what does it feel like to participate in this brand-new format?
Well, I’m looking forward to it. And I’m actually very glad to be a part of it as well. Considering the fact that this UKC is something very different and as everybody knows that so many big names are associated with it and I’m glad that I get a chance to be a part of the UKC this year and I’m glad that since the beginning of this I’m getting a chance to battle with Kevin Peterson, Yuvraj Singh, Andre Russell, Rashid khan. And I’m so sure that everyone will actually enjoy this as much as they enjoy T20 and other series. Also, UKC is an exciting game and a very exciting concept by Kunal Sharma, everybody will have fun and gonna love it.
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The tournament features the likes of Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan, Rashid Khan, Yuvraj Singh available, and you’ve had your battles against these legends. Since this is a one-on-one contest, which player are you the most keen on facing?
Well, I was looking forward to beating Kevin Peterson. And actually, this was in my mind since he’s retired so I don’t want to upset him a bit too much. That being sad, I also want to keep his spirit high and keep him happy in the UKC and you got the better of me still. But at the same time, Andre Russell is a good batsman, Rashid khan in an indoor game will be difficult because it’s totally different from outdoor. But he is a very smart cricketer and very energetic in the group as well so he will be that one good competitive player within this format and which will be very much suitable for UKC.
The UKC offers a range of new rules. If you have to pick one, which is the rule you’re most excited about?
Well, I can tell you that the one rule I’m not excited about is in which when you hit a six then you still have to run. And the one I really liked is that I can get a change of bowler, like the ACE bowler you don’t have to bowl all 15 balls. You can have someone else as well, or you can select any bowler of your choice for that particular battle. And this is the one rule which I utmost liked. And this chance to choose a bowler because not all batsmen will be able to ball at their best, they can’t because that’s not their strength. So this chance will help them out within the 15 balls in the first innings and then same for the second installment. I’m excited about the rules, to be very honest.
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Yuvraj Singh has hit six sixes in an over and he said he will be looking to produce a repeat in the UKC. That is probably the only thing you haven’t done so far. Is scoring 36 runs in an over in your mind, especially against Yuvraj?
Yes, it’s very much possible to hit sixes but the exciting yet the funny part in UKC is that he still has to run for them. And you can hit the bulls-eye as well, which is above the six range where you get 12 rounds. So, once you can hit straight but it’s all up where that ball is actually balling because square of the wiki to get the least amount of runs, you still get four runs, up to the top bracket where he can hit the bowl down to the targets from both the sides, but you will get one or two then and the closer you get down to strip down the wicket they get three rounds as well. So, if six is possible and Yuvraj has done it before so why can’t I do it. Yes, you, I anybody can do that.
Will he (Yuvraj) be your stiffest competitor in the UKC?
I will definitely, you know, the Universe Boss is the hard hitting left under and the big off spinner. So that would be stiff competition for everyone. Yuvi boss is always a stiff competitor for everyone here. So, the name is already big and strong in the media. So once a year you go up against Chris Gayle, it’s a different story. I’m sure it actually switched on even more when they played against the universe, because it wants to beat the universe myself.
What was your first reaction when you heard of the UKC and what it offers?
To be honest, I heard about it quite some time now, even more, maybe I hear before it actually happened from Kunal Sharma and he came to me with the concept and we’ve been discussing it back and forth and trying to get the right concept, the right rules and everything to be perfect for each and everyone. So it’s been around, I must’ve. And well done to Kunal finally, and it actually happened. Now it’s a reality. And it turned out to be a lovely concept of a cricket game. UKC it’s a lovely concept. So I’m happy. Like I say, I’m happy that I’m actually a part of it.
Kieron Pollard or Dwayne Bravo – If you had the option to add one more player to the UKC, who would it have been and why?
In UKC I’m definitely going to add both of them. I promise that you’re going to have pollard as well as Dewey to be a part of this, no doubt about it. I’m sure that you are going to get Ab de Villiers as well. Those guys, all big names, if they will come and play for UKC then it will be a fun and exciting factor as well for both the parties. And I heard that next tournament has prize money 1 million US $, then who wouldn’t be up to grab that. So they all will be there, trust me, you will see more people coming around.