IPL 2023: Can Kyle Mayers be the new Chris Gayle of IPL?

The muscular batter's signature hair-do and batting style is already drawing inevitable comparisons with the big man - Chris Gayle.

Kyle Mayers(Photo Courtesy: @CricCrazyJohns/Twitter)
Kyle Mayers(Photo Courtesy: @CricCrazyJohns/Twitter)

Gautam Bhattacharyya

While he enjoyed the nickname ‘Universe Boss’ and had been the biggest ambassador of T20 franchise cricket on it’s upward curve, Kyle Mayers is only a bit of latebloomer who is in his debut season in IPL. However, the muscular batter's signature hair-do and batting style is already drawing inevitable comparisons with the big man - Chris Gayle.

The left-hander’s brutal assault on the Punjab Kings bowlers (54 off 24 balls), not to speak of the efforts of Marcus Stoinis and young Ayush Badoni, made it a memorable night for the Lucknow Super Giants at Mohali on Friday. A total of 257, the second highest in the history of IPL, looked a winner all the way despite the good batting conditions and there was eventually no twist in the tale.

What the innings has also done is to pitckfork Mayers, bought for Rs five million in the mega auction more as a back-up opener for Quinton de Kock, as the regular partner for skipper KL Rahul as the illustrious Proteas skipper continues to bide his time on the sidelines. In eight matches, the Caribbean with a deadpan expression has logged in 297 runs with a strike-rate of 160.54 and looks good for more.

The emergence of Mayers, 30, who is an allround package with his right arm seam bowling option – could not have come at a better time to raise the stocks of Caribbean performers on the IPL stage. The last two seasons have seen the phasing away of some of the alltime T20 greats like Gayle himself, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and the waning of powers on part of Andre Russell and Sunil Narine as the Lucknow Super Giants man looks well poised to take his impact to a different level.  

 There is an interesting aspect about the evolution of Mayers as a cricketer though. While he created a significant impact for his franchise Durban Super Giants in the opening edition of SA T20 earlier this year as well as in last year’s Caribbean Premier League for Barbabdos Royals (batting average of 31 at a strike-rate of 135 and eight wickets at an economy rate of 5.40), Mayers is no by means a one-dimensional batter.

It may often escape the radar of the cricket fans that he had first burst into spotlight with a painstaking double century on Test debut against Bangladesh in 2021 – only the sixth batsman in the game to do so. It came in the fourth innings while chasing 395 on a wearing Chattogram track, which had often proved to be the Waterloo of many a visiting team.

 He came in at 59-3 and produced an innings of remarkable character and technique against a quality spin attack to remain unbeaten on 210 as the West Indies chased down the target with three wickets in hand on the final day. Mayers’ maturity in that knock, while being compact in defence and keeping an eye on the target, had been rated as one of the significant Test innings in recent times.

 With the IPL taking place in India and most teams having a posse of good spinners, Mayers' ability to rotate the strike and pick up sixes may be handy. A quality which he demonstrated with an innings of 73 off 28 balls on his IPL debut against Delhi Capitals, during which he belted five of his seven sixes against Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav.

 While Mayers has now forced no less than a big name like De Kock on the bench by stepping in so successfully as an opener, his versatility lies in the fact he has batted from the top to No.7 in the T20s for the West Indies. It’s been surely a great buy for Gautam Gambhir & co!

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