South Africa have clear plans in place to stop Chris Gayle from dominating them with the bat when the teams meet in Sydney on Friday.
After a dry-spell of 19 months, Gayle batted himself into form again against Zimbabwe on Tuesday, scoring the first ever double-hundred (215) off 147 balls.
At his best Gayle is a World Class performer who can dominate any bowling attack. Although he didn’t train on Thursday, he will again be one of the key men for the West Indies when take on the Proteas.
‘He doesn’t train often,’ said De Villiers at his pre-match press conference. ‘I played with him in Bangalore, and you don’t often see him in the nets. His body is quite old for his age, I think. He needs to look after himself to make sure he gets on the path with all the games.
‘The fact that he scored runs is definitely not a surprise. It’s not a surprise to see him bat like that. It’s a matter of making sure you make your plans against him. He’s a world class player and he can win games for his team in almost any situation. He’s one of those guys you need to look out for and make sure your plans are really clear towards him.’
Plans for a batsman is always important and everybody examines their opposition looking for weaknesses, but it is the implementation and execution of those plans that will be the key.
Hashim Amla dropped centurion Shikar Dhawan early in his innings when South Africa played India last Sunday. Dhawan went on to score 137, which played a key role in India reaching a score of 300+ for South Africa to chase.
The Proteas can’t afford similar mistakes against the West Indies and specifically Gayle, because he will make you pay for it once he gets going.