Evin Lewis offered a smile when asked how it felt to sit out the first three matches for the Barisal Bulls, and get a dodgy leg-before decision in his first BPL innings. Lewis, to his credit, replied to those setbacks with his first century at first-class level, and now stands a chance to open the innings with his childhood hero next week.
When Lewis was tonking around Dhaka Dynamites’ bowlers in the course of his unbeaten 101, the prospect of seeing him open with Chris Gayle must have sent chills through the bowlers in the BPL, who have thus far had a tournament of their liking. Lewis is relishing the chance to play with Gayle, who is scheduled to join Barisal for their matches in Dhaka from next Sunday.
“Chris Gayle is my favorite,” Lewis said. “You know his style of batting and mine is similar. I hit a lot of sixes, big sixes like him. He is my mentor and I follow him. I love to hit sixes like him. Of course he will be proud because we both are from the Caribbean. I have never opened with him, it’s a dream for me to open with him, and hopefully that will happen.”
Lewis’ jabs and swings of the blade are quite different from the absolute certainty with which Gayle operates in T20s. Nonetheless, Lewis’ big hits on Tuesday evening in Chittagong were raw, especially his blasts over the cover boundary that fetched him a number of sixes. The six he hit off Ryan ten Doeschate in a 27-run over seemed to have taken more of the outside half of the bat, but the sheer power he generated with his swing took the ball well past the rope.
“It feels excellent man, my first T20 hundred. It feels great. I think the wicket was pretty decent and I backed myself. I waited on the slower balls and capitalized on them, which was most important.
“I just backed myself. When the ball would come in my zone I would go for my shots. It feels good knowing that I can score at any part of the ground in T20s. It is excellent for me,” he said.
When asked to describe his reaction at being benched for the first three matches, Lewis said, after a smile, that he was frustrated but “kept praying for the chance”.