Chris Gayle, who announced that he will retire from One-Day International cricket after the 2019 World Cup, called himself the “greatest player in the world” and said he will take the self-anointed moniker of the ‘Universe Boss’ with him ‘to the grave’.
“You’re looking at a great man. I’m the greatest player in the world. Of course I’m still the Universe Boss. That will never change. I’ll take that to the grave,” Gayle told reporters at Kensington Oval on Sunday.
“I’m looking to draw the line after the World Cup. Or should I say cut the string? Definitely, in 50-over cricket, the World Cup is the end for me. I’ll let the youngsters have some fun and I can sit back in the party stand and watch them have some fun."
The hard-hitting Jamaican, who has played 284 ODIs scoring 23 centuries – including one double hundred – said he feels fit ahead of the five-match ODI series against England that begins on Wednesday (February 20).
“I’m in good condition. The body is feeling good and I’m pleased with that. I’ve lost a bit of weight and I don’t want to get too big.
“I’m still working on my six pack. I’m trying to keep up with the youngsters in the field who are like cats the way they chase the ball. I still have it in me and I’m still enjoying it.”
The 39-year old has chosen to focus more on T20 franchise cricket over the past few years but knows his reputation can still strike fear among opposition bowlers.
“I don’t know who is opening the bowling for England, but any bowler is going to beware of Chris Gayle," he said. “That doesn’t change because he is 39 now, they are going to be saying ‘yes, he’s got some grey hairs in his beard, let’s get him now, this is the perfect time to get the universe boss now, he is 39.’
“Being back in West Indies colours is the most important thing. I’m actually looking to go forward with the Windies.
“I’ll be bringing some experience to play and sharing that with the youngsters and I hope to enjoy the next couple of months with the West Indies cricket team.”
Gayle admitted that he would like to go out on a high and that includes possibly winning the World Cup in what will be his final attempt.
“This series against England might be the last time people get to see the Universe Boss on local soil. The last game I played in Barbados for Jamaica I got a hundred and it would be nice to continue where I left off and entertain the home fans as much as possible.
“At the end of the day everybody should be happy and enjoy the game.
“Winning the World Cup would be a fairy-tale finish. The youngsters owe it to me to win. They have to do that for me and try and get me the trophy. I’ll be looking to put my input in as well."