What does the world like so much about the West Indians? Maybe, it’s not incorrect to say their big hitting. Raw power, anyone?
To some, their ability to hit sixes whilst exercising what seems like free will.
To most others, it would be the ability to manufacture a hit when perhaps it doesn’t seem as though a huge hit to the stands would even come.
Maybe, to most others, it would be their carefree approach to batting especially where one isn’t necessarily perturbed by game situation as such, and simply carries on.
In the past, we’ve seen legends like Brian Lara own the world stage doing just that especially when faced with a moment of unforgiving duress.
Several years after Lara’s swashbuckle, we saw Gayle’s mighty force. It, quite simply, blew away the world and captured its attention by a storm.
And while legends like Lara and Gayle have stepped away, it does appear and perhaps isn’t hard to see that the Caribbean magic is far from over and continues to turn heads and even games on its heads every now and then.
And could there be a better or more popular platform from which to see this magic unfold than the Indian Premier League?
Among the recent generation of Calypso dashers who’ve somewhere made a name for themselves even as a lot of good work is still left to do, is a certain Kyle Rico Mayers.
To many and for years to come, he’ll be remembered as the bloke who hit a brilliant, almost maverick unbeaten 210 versus Bangladesh on a turning Bangladesh wicket to win his West Indies a Test that may have never been possible without such batting heroism.
But to a generation of cricket devotees for whom the Indian Premier League is more than some buck spinning hoopla and quite simply, a way of life, Kyle Mayers will be regarded as the batsman who kept going when the going got tough for the Lucknow SuperGiants in 2023.
For someone who played what was just his first ever edition of the Indian Premier League, Kyle Mayers batted with both: a sense of elan and rich purpose seldom backing off from his natural attacking style of play.
He kept going whether or not the likes of Marcus Stoinis made runs. He kept batting and putting out the big scores whethe or not KL Rahul, his batting partner up the order, as also his team’s captain went about scoring runs or not.
Truth be told, so utterly unbothered did Mayers seem by what was or wasn’t happening in the middle that in a rather non-West Indian way of focusing on the action in the middle, and not on any other darn thing, the batsman kept up the ante of runs.
That’s despite often coming to terms with heaps of pressure!
With much respect to a gem of Indian Cricket, the more Rahul batted conservatively; the more Mayers batted freely utterly unflustered by the accumulation of dot deliveries.
If the Lucknow SuperGiants needed an opener who could fire on his own with little or no support from the other end, then Kyle Mayers, much to their good fortune, was that man.
As a matter of fact, with the way he went about collecting his runs in what was then just a first IPL match for him, was rather interesting.
Having hardly connected the ball well or scored any runs whatsoever from his first eight deliveries in his IPL debut versus Delhi, Kyle Mayers quickly unbuckled himself from whatever it was that had been holding him back.
He was upping the ante of runs. And would soon score rather freely on either side of the wicket; the end result being 73 beautifully collected runs that came merely off 38 deliveries.
But that was only the beginning; the Kyle Mayers show that would keep fans who relish the dash of the Calypso was only going to get better in what lay ahead.
When the brave batter scored that rollicking 20-ball- half century versus Punjab, making light work of someone like Gurnoor Brar, the West Indian didn’t just impress his own teammates; he collected the regard of a great of the game in Shikhar Dhawan.
Given the fact that there were so many more experienced hitters and perhaps just as accomplished batters in his own side, think Pooran and Stoinis, that Mayers top scored for Lucknow was about as impressive as it was enthralling.
But all of this was just a start and it truly has been a great season for Mayers, who eventually capped off the season with a strike rate of 144.
Given the confidence he has of having already done well internationally across formats and the massive reputation he is likely to carry in the forthcoming years, Mayers mustn’t leave anything to chance; he must find a way of making the West Indians as the darlings of the IPL in this post-Bravo, Gayle and Pollard era.
But none of that should ideally happen by overlooking the national duties.