Gayle’s book is the antidote to the constipated, self-aware, PR fuelled, seriously ghosted British autobiographic sports books I’m used to. It’s vibrant, insightful and magnificent. Chris is a superstar and loves it. As the best batsman in the world he can see no reason to be modest- what is modesty but a form of simpering lying?
Chris grew up in grinding poverty. But like all others who grew up in such circumstances poverty isn’t a cause of his wonderful talent. He was passionate about cricket and wanted to spend every moment playing. He saw other’s who were equally talented but through one reason or another they didn’t succeed. Injury, life-style choices, prejudice and so on held them back or destroyed them. Including his own brother.
Outrageous talent plus intelligence and hard work created Chris-the- genius. He broke into a cricket ground to practice in the nets, “Our nets have no nets.” (p16) A world away from the pampered talent spotting world of English county set-ups.
“Practice, practice, practice….Me with the natural talent…. I still put in the practice.” (p30)
“The strong mind is what allows you to score big runs and dismantle big attacks, not the perfect front elbow or the back-lift that points straight to second slip….” (p45)
“Usain is not shy to celebrate it, and neither am I. I’ll happily tell you with a straight face that I’m great. Look at it how you want, but I’m the best. Legend. World Boss.” (p71)
Every teacher should read this book. It denies the possibility of recipes for success. Denies GroupThink (the destroyer of genius). Needless to relate Chris praises named teachers who nurtured him even though he was the antidote of a good student.