Etihad Stadium is not a place where cricket magic is meant to happen.
Instead, it is a place where Australian Football brashness unfolds during the winter, or aged rockers belt out songs you have heard too many times during their farewell tours.
But it is not a cricket ground.
Dennis Lillee never knocked over Viv Richards here. Sarfraz Nawaz never took 7 for 1 here. Richard Hadlee has never been abused here.
There is no Bay 13 at Etihad Stadium.
There is no hill, no Great Southern Stand, no MCC.
It is not a cricket ground. It is just a place where sometimes they play cricket.
In fact, if it wasn’t for Marlon Samuels throwing his bat in the direction of Shane Warne a few years back, it would be easy to argue that nothing of note has ever happened at Etihad Stadium in a cricketing sense.
Actually, didn’t that happen at the MCG?
Etihad Stadium is the cricketing equivalent of elevator music.
It exists. But I dare you to hum me the tune after you exit the lift. You can’t. You have forgotten it already.
Just as you have all of your Etihad Stadium cricketing memories.
I was at Etihad Stadium last night. Another vanilla T20 match in a vanilla T20 stadium.
It was fun. Enjoyable. Loud. But still vanilla.
Then Chris Gayle.
He decided it was time for us all to taste another flavour.
Gayle’s flavour isn’t vanilla. He hates vanilla.
Chris likes only the silkiest of silky cookies and cream. Milk sourced from royal Belgian cows who have their udders massaged daily by some Swedish guy called Sven. Sven has strong, but gentle hands.
It has added chocolate chips sourced from the most perfect cocoa beans in Brazil.
Chris wants your taste buds to know they are alive. They should be dancing to a DJ Bravo tune.
Chris Gayle creates flavours like no other man creates flavours.
Chris is playing for the Renegades. They need to score some silly amount of runs of less than 20 overs to make the Big Bash finals.
It’s never going to happen.
It’s possible this may be Chris’ last ever match in Australia. His team is about to be knocked out of a tournament and he may never be invited back.
Chris decides to open his lunch box and drop a precision guided flavour bomb on Etihad Stadium.
But first, he has to let the first ball he faces go through to the keeper. It was called a wide.
The vanilla scoreboard shows C Gayle 51* (12)
12 balls of madness.
A World Record.
It may have been an allergic reaction that set Chris off.
His past week has been filled with media stories about his lack of respect for women, his chauvinistic attitude and his lack of remorse.
Perhaps Chris is allergic to criticism? Weaving cricketing magic may be his penicillin?
Perhaps Chris is cricket’s Super Mario?
Maybe, he devoured a mushroom before batting, powered up and unleashed?
His sixes didn’t just clear the rope. Most reached the second deck of the grandstand.
Only Super Mario has this power. Or some freaky kind of Caribbean Godzilla. Or Chris Gayle.
Yuvraj Singh once made a T20 half century off only 12 balls too. His was in a World Cup. He did most of it against Stuart Broad. The same Stuart Broad who is now the best Test bowler in the world.
But Yuvraj is not Chris Gayle.
Yuvraj may be an explosive batsman.
But Gayle is the World Boss.
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