Abu Dhabi: Wearing a beaming smile and sunglasses under a helmet, 'Universe Boss' Chris Gayle on Saturday appeared to have brought the curtains down on his phenomenal T20 International career even as the big-hitting batter did not make any official announcement on his retirement.
The happenings inside the Sheikh Zayed Stadium here pointed to this, as the swashbuckling Jamaican walked off to a standing ovation from his teammates after scoring a nine-ball 15 against Australia at the T20 World Cup. Later, Gayle and Dwayne Bravo, who had announced that he will retire from international cricket after the World Cup, were given a guard of honour by the Australian players at the end of the match.
Gayle, 42, bludgeoned Pat Cummins for six off the first ball of the third over to move to 15, but dragged the next delivery on to his stumps.
As his West Indies teammates gave a standing ovation by the boundary, Gayle waved his bat to all corners of the ground as he left the pitch.
This was one ball after hitting his 1,045th six in T20 cricket. Very few players have had more impact on T20 cricket than Gayle.
Gayle hasn't officially announced his retirement yet, but he has been a part of an ageing West Indies team in this ongoing tournament, which struggled to get going in its quest to defending the title it won more than five years ago.
Commentator Ian Bishop said on air, "Everything points to this being the last time we will see Gayle in West Indies' colours.
Former India star V V S Laxman led the plaudits, describing Gayle as T20's greatest player.
Gayle, who made his debut for the West Indies in 1999, was pivotal in their two Two World Cup successes and said he was thrilled to share his last match with his long-time teammate Bravo.
A two-time T20 World Cup-winning superstar, Gayle has 1,899 runs in 79 T20Is. He averaged 28.11 and struck at 137.31.
Gayle's tally includes two centuries and 14 half-centuries. He also scalped 20 wickets in the shortest format with the last one being Mitchell Marsh in Saturday's game.
A regular opener, Gayle often batted at No. 3 in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup.
In his T20 career, Gayle has scored a total of 14,321 runs from 445 innings, including 22 centuries and a world record score of 175 off just 66 balls for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2013 IPL season.
While he isn't expected to play for West Indies again, he will certainly play overseas leagues.
Gayle hasn't played a Test match since 2014 while his last ODI appearance came in 2019. An all-format legend, Gayle has 7,214 runs in 103 Tests and 10480 runs in 301 ODIs. He is a former West Indies captain too.