Big-hitting opener Chris Gayle has vaulted 12 spots to No.4 of the International Cricket Council Twenty20 International batting rankings, only two weeks after returning to the West Indies colours.
In the latest rankings the 32-year-old Jamaica is fourth behind new No.1, England’s Eoin Morgan. The movement for Gayle comes after he plundered half-centuries in both Twenty20 Internationals against New Zealand in Florida over the weekend.
The left-hander stroked an explosive 85 from 52 balls as West Indies won the first game by 56 runs on Saturday and followed up with a measured 53 on Sunday as the Caribbean side carved out a convincing 61-run victory.
Gayle played his first T20I for West Indies in two years a fortnight ago after ending a stand-off with the West Indies Cricket Board that also saw him barred from Tests and One-Day Internationals.
In four innings since his return, Gayle has lashed three half-centuries. He has also moved up three places to sixth in the all-rounders rankings led by Australian Shane Watson. The next highest ranked West Indies batsman is all-rounder Dwayne Bravo who jumped five places to 30th
In the bowlers’ rankings, captain Darren Sammy is the highest ranked West Indies player at 12th, with England’s Graeme Swann at the top.
West Indies play New Zealand in one-dayers in Kingston, Jamaica on Thursday and Saturday before moving to Basseterre for two one-dayers in St Kitts.
Gayle said: “I’ve been hitting the ball well, starting off in England. I had a wonderful Indian Premier League and then you have to make the necessary adjustments back again. But that’s the life of a professional cricketer. You have to adapt to the situation as quickly as possible.
“So I’m enjoying it, and with these situations as a batter, you want to get a good start and that will actually give you more confidence leading up to the rest of the series. If it doesn’t happen, then things will be a bit more difficult and you have to even dig a bit deeper to try and get that kick-start ... . Confidence is always good, so you’ve got to be prepared mentally and physically ready for them.”