Cricket: Gayle receives ultimate gift after Canberra clinic

Chris Gayle issued an invitation to the kids of Canberra to turn up at Manuka Oval at 4pm on Wednesday for a hit and bowl ahead of the Prime Minister’s X1 match, which starts on Thursday.

I happen to be in the area so I go along and have a look.

Boys with monstrous cricket bags arrive in the nets area at Manuka. There  is, however,  one youngster who arrives with just a stick.

Shortly after 4pm the Greg Chappell Cricket Centre people announce that Chris will be 15 minutes late because he’s with the Prime Minister. Fair enough, I suppose.

To pass the time some of the youngsters are chosen to have a go at throwing at the stumps. At 4.25 and still no sign of Gayle. Some children are chosen for the next activity – catching and throwing.

At 4.35 there’s still  no  sign of Chris Gayle. What could Kevin Rudd be talking about?

Some kids drift off to have their own hit  while others line up to bowl to the cricket centre people.

At 4.48 Chris Gayle finally arrives. He changes into a cricket-centre shirt and saunters down to the nets.

A teenager remarks, ” He’s a big specimen. Do you reckon he can play footy?”

The cricket centre people welcome Chris and ask questions such as, “How has the West Indian team settled into Canberra?”

Chris replies that Canberra is a quiet place and he is a quiet person so he’s sure he will get along with everyone.

He’s also asked about his scores of 200 in Australia, his enjoyment of the Big bash, the comparative level of domestic cricket here and in the West Indies (Australia is better developed and more competitive)

Chris says he’s keen to get back out into the middle  and looking forward to Prime Minister’s match.

The last question: “What do you like about the Greg Chappell stores?”

“I can get stuff for free,” he says.

Laughs  all round.

Now it’s down to business. There are about 50 kids by my estimation. Six lucky kids are chosen to bat while Chris bowls. His first ball hits the stumps. The crowd is impressed. The next ball is a wide.

When the first teenager lines up Chris says he is not scared. The second teenager happess to have the name Sachin. His nickname of course is Tendulkar.
After the bowling has finished Chris swaps places and bats.

I have to say the kids’ bowling is a bit wilder than their batting.

Chris bats right and left handed.

After the net sessions it is time for all the kids to line up and get autographs.

“What the heck?” I think,  I might as well line up, too.

It just so happens that I have a copy of The Footy Almanac with me so in exchange for an autograph I give Chris a book and say, “I hope you enjoy reading about out great game.”

He accepts it with a slightly surprised look on his face.

Never let a chance go by !


  1. John Butler says

    Great stuff Pamela

    How did the kid with the stick go in the practice session?

  2. Pamela – The Footy Almanac will confuse Chris Gayle, but probably not as much as a conversation with Rudd would.

    Great seizing of the moment.

  3. Pamela Sherpa says

    Hi all, Chris Gayle batted brilliantly today- he made 146 – hit fours and sixes with ease. Perhaps he was inspired by reading the Almanac overnight !

  4. Pamela Sherpa says

    John, the kid with the stick unfortunately didn’t get selected to be one of the batters but I was pleased to see a kid without an enormous kit bag turn up. I mean, how much gear do kids need to have a hit these days?

  5. John Butler says


    In my experience the size of the kit bag often has more to do with the parent’s aspirations than the child’s requirements.

  6. Maybe the size of the kit bag represents small parent syndrome…

  7. Take heed parents of the world, the Don required a stump and golf ball.

    End of story.

  8. Tim

    And a tank stand.

  9. Touche.

    Great idea on giving Chris a copy of the almanac by the way Pamela. I delivered mine to a member of the Dutch national team whilst I was in Latvia on the promise that he would write up a report of their next game. Our great game is going international!

  10. Pamela Sherpa says

    Well done Tim. I figured even if Chris Gayle doesn’t read it, hopefully it will fall into the hands of someone who’ll be impressed with it.

    How big is the Dutch league?

    You’ll all be pleased to know that when the kids did bat and bowl with Chris -they didn’t wear any of their fancy gear. I almost asked to have a look inside one of the bags because I was so intrigued by the size of them- (I take less going on an aeroplane.)

  11. The Dutch league is tiny, in that they have around 50 registered players. However they take it seriously, apparently scouts flew to Stockholm to watch him play before picking him for the National team.

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