West Indies cricketers paid glowing tributes to retiring Chris Gayle after he drew curtains on his World Cup career, saying world cricket will badly miss the big-hitting opener's aura when he hangs up his bat later this year. Gayle played the last match of his fifth and final World Cup against Afghanistan here on Thursday. The West Indies legend has decided to end his international career after playing the home series against India next month.
Wicket-keeper batsman Shai Hope said it will be a sad day for world cricket when Gayle finally calls time on his illustrious international career.
"Probably the whole world will miss him when he goes. It's going to be a sad day for cricket," Hope told reporters after West Indies beat Afghanistan by 23 runs in their last outing at the World Cup in England and Wales.
Asked what he would miss most about Gayle, Hope, who was adjudged player-of-the-match for his 92-ball 77, quipped: "Probably sun glasses. There are too many things you can pick from Chris."
Gayle has amassed 1186 runs at a strike-rate of 90.53 and an average of 35.93 in 34 innings across five World Cups. He also took 16 wickets with his part-time off-spin.
Paying glorious tribute to Gayle, all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite said he didn't understand the importance of the legendary opener when he initially came into the team.
"I don't think I really understood the magnitude of what Chris Gayle had done for West Indies cricket when I came into the team," he said.
"It's one of my regrets over the course of my short West Indies career but being with him a lot more and sharing a dressing room with him in franchise cricket as well, you get to see the aura he has on and off the field.
"I now really understand what Chris Gayle means, not only for West Indies cricket but for world cricket as well. Whenever he decides to call it quits, world cricket will definitely miss him so from me to Chris, congrats on a fantastic career and congrats on pushing the game of cricket in the way you have."