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Twenty20 is Second Chance for Gayle

September's Twenty20 World Cup is a chance for many of the West Indies side to reclaim some pride after failing to give their home fans something to cheer about in the Caribbean last spring.

Although expectations were not high, the hosts came through their group with a 100% record, but then lost five out of six matches in the Super Eight.

Chris Gayle may have slightly better memories of the tournament after hitting a blistering 79 off 58 balls in the final game against England, but even he will be looking for more consistency in South Africa.

Gayle said: "The World Cup was very disappointing.

"A lot of people expected high things from us and it didn't come off. I'm really sorry that we let down the Caribbean people.

"Personally in the World Cup, my form wasn't running very well for me.

"At least in the final game I was able to score a good half-century against England and I felt like I had turned a corner, even though it was too late for the tournament.

"It was one of those things and though I am still depressed about it, life goes on."

'Life goes on' is a phrase Gayle knows all too well after a career that has had its share of highs and lows, and he will be hoping to make South Africa one of the former.

Born in Jamaica, he made his first-class debut aged 19, and within 18 months had played his first ODI and Test match.

Aged just 21, he established a Queens Sports Club record for opening partnerships with Daren Ganga, but his international career hit a bit of a lull until 2002, when three centuries against Indian helped him become only the fourth West Indian to score 1000 runs in a calendar year.

He made more records in 2005 when, after a poor series against South Africa, he made a career-best, match-saving 317 in the fourth Test, the first-ever triple century against Proteas.

On the back of this success he joined English county side Worcestershire, but despite making four half-centuries, the team were in the final match against Lancashire, in which Gayle made just one run.

He bounced back to be named the Player of the 2006 Championship Trophy after scoring 474 runs - including three centuries - and also taking eight wickets in eight matches.

Then came a World Cup which is best forgotten, but luckily for Gayle and his team-mates, they have the chance to rectify their mistakes just four months later, rather than four years.

He has been named as deputy to captain Ramnaresh Sarwan for the tournament, despite comments criticising the West Indies Cricket Board during the tour of England.

On that Tour, the Windies lost the Test series but beat England in the ODI, and Gayle is confident of taking this form in the shorter game - which seems to favour his side - into the Twenty20 World Cup.

He said: "We have been rewarded for our hard work.

"We do a lot of planning and all the guys communicate well with each other and we have a lot of discussion in team meetings about what responsibility each guy has.

"I think the guys now need some rest to recuperate and come out fresh for September."

The tournament may suit Gayle, ranked fifth-best all-rounder in the International Cricket Council's latest ODI rankings, and his hard-hitting style.

Indeed many spectators will be buying their tickets simply to see the likes of Gayle, Adam Gilchrist, Sanath Jayasuriya, Shahid Afridi and Kevin Pietersen belt the ball around.

However Gayle will have another role, as one of the Windies' players who can bowl spin, he will be called upon to provide a different approach to the quick bowling yorkers which are expected to dominate.

If he can rediscover his form of 2006 on both fronts, he may help the Caribbean fans forget what happened on their own doorstep.

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