Chris Gayle is a brand in himself. Like him or not, approve or not of his lifestyle or the pomp that is an accomplice, he's sure to grab eyeballs; much like Shane Warne. These sportsmen have not just excelled at their craft, but have also snared the imagination of onlookers by their off-field persona and have no qualms about it. The candour of which, is perhaps what, makes them the icons they are.

Gayle, undoubtedly, has captured the imagination of spectators with his cricketing exploits across the world in the last few years. Thus, it is no doubt that he was easily the poster boy of the third edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).

The Barisal Bulls, by securing Gayle, by default roped in a horde of followers. However, the fans were left disappointed after a back injury that the swashbuckling left-hander sustained in July while playing in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) ruled him out for the following couple of months, thus ensuring a delayed start to his stint with the BPL.

The wait, nevertheless, has finally come to an end with the latter half of the league about to get zestier with the arrival of the phenom. "It's good to be back (in Bangladesh)," said Gayle on Saturday (December 5). "I always do well when I play here and the team is also doing well. So there's a bit of pressure off me.

"The game will be my first since I returned from the injury, so I am looking forward to the game tomorrow. I will try and gain same momentum from my personal point of view and at the same time, the team is in the second place so that's more important. We need to give our self a chance to reach the final."

While cricket essentially is the primary aspect of such a tournament, the entertainment factor cannot be left far behind. Tournaments like the BPL are the country's only ticket to watch multiple international superstars in the same sphere. With Gayle though, the onus to amp up the experience of the tournament for the locals is taken for granted, and he recognizes that just as well, albeit with a little caution this time.

Taaza Vaartha

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