Chris Gayle hopes to finish off his Mzansi Super League and Jozi Stars stint with some fireworks when they take on neighbours, Tshwane Spartans, at the Wanderers on Sunday.
Stars, the defending champions from last year, have lost all five of their matches so far as they head to a match that can help them maintain their mathematical chances of a spot in the knockout stages.
Gayle, the West Indies legend nicknamed the ‘Universe Boss’, will be playing his final match before returning to the Caribbean islands on Monday.
‘I love coming to South Africa, though at the moment it has been disappointing, losing five games on the trot as defending champions. On a personal note, it has been hard not getting the runs we wanted and to give the fans something to cheer about,’ said the 40-year-old master blaster batsman.
‘Life does have its ups and downs. We still have five games and we are going to be giving ourselves a chance back at home on Sunday. We’ve got to keep our heads up and see what the next games have got to offer.
‘You never know, some strange things have happened in this form of cricket, this is one of those moments where you have to be strong as individuals.’
Gayle has great memories of Mzansi – on and off the field – dating back to 1998, as a teen where he was the leading run scorer in the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup tournament. That was the spark to a two-decade long journey in international cricket in the maroon Windies colours.
‘From a personal point of view, I always enjoyed coming to South Africa. I love this country so much. I started here 21 years ago when I was playing for the Under-19s. Separate from the recent results, I still get a lot of love here. I want to say thanks for all of the support over the years. I may have not gotten the runs, but still get a lot of good reception and love from the fans,’ said Gayle.
‘There are also so many things to see in Johannesburg and Cape Town…when I am free, I get a chance to visit Sun City (in the North West Province), go to the bush on a Safari, which has been good. I will always look to keep coming here and look to invite friends and family to South Africa where I can showcase what I have experienced over the years.’