Inspired by a strong Gayle


Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Kent Cricket - By Richard Har­vey

Chris Gayle’s stun­ning un­beaten 151 not out off 62 balls for Som­er­set against Kent in the Nat-West T20 Blast inspired Spitfires all-rounder Matt Coles to change his bat.

And the de­ci­sion to use a big­ger one paid off when Coles pro­duced his own bat­ting py­rotech­nics against Sur­rey at the Kia Oval last Thurs­day.

He played an in­nings the West In­dian master blaster would have been proud of, smash­ing nine sixes and seven fours dur­ing his re­mark­able 73-ball 100 in the Royal Lon­don One-Day Cup quar­ter-fi­nal.

How­ever, de­spite an in­nings that should have been good enough to win any game, Coles, like Gayle against Kent at Taun­ton in May, fin­ished on the los­ing side.

Although he was dis­ap­pointed with the 17-run de­feat, Coles was happy with the de­ci­sion to go along the lines of us­ing a bat like one of the big­gest hit­ters of the mod­ern era.

He said: “It was amaz­ing watch­ing Chris hit the ball so cleanly and so far that day, so when we went in their chang­ing room af­ter­wards, I had a look and feel of his bat.

“It had a longer blade to what I am used to but it felt real good.

“So, as we are a pretty sim­i­lar build and height, I thought I would get one made by my bat-mak­ers and give it a go. It was worth a try.

“The ex­tra length gives you a bit more lever­age and it didn’t go too bad on Thurs­day.

But will Coles be us­ing the bat, which left his pre­vi­ous best one-day ef­fort of 47 way be­hind, on a reg­u­lar ba­sis for the rest of the sea­son?

He said: “I cer­tainly won’t be us­ing it in the nets – you don’t want to dam­age it when it doesn’t re­ally count.

“You al­ways try to stick to us­ing the same bat but you have to man­age your bats like your body with your work­load.”

Pic­tures: Barry Good­win and Harry Trump (inset)

Matt Coles, who hit 100 against Sur­rey last Thurs­day and, inset, Chris Gayle

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