It's been more than a decade since Allan Donald last played international cricket. Since hanging up his boots as one of South Africa's greatest ever fast bowlers, Donald has taken up coaching, with county and country stints. Formerly bowling coach of Pune Warriors India, he assumed the role of the head coach - his first such position for a high profile side - for the Indian Premier League 2013. It's not exactly been a smooth ride, with the losses mounting and Pune running into Chris Gayle at his destructive best on April 23 in Bangalore. Donald, who seldom came off second best on the cricket field, spoke to Wisden India about the challenges of coaching an IPL side, and how he would have bowled to a batsman like Gayle. Excerpts:
Q. How would you have bowled to Chris Gayle?
A. I would be very, very aggressive with Gayle. He's a very special, gifted individual and he has hit guys to all parts of the world. Not just what happened there that night (on April 23, when Gayle smashed 175 not out off 66 balls against Pune). I've seen him hit Brett Lee enormously far.
But I would be very aggressive. One thing we didn't do was we didn't use the short ball enough. Guys got scared, they ran for cover. Once you get thumped out of the ground, are you going to try it again? Maybe not. My approach would be that I would just try not to back down with him at all. I've seen him get out to it before - the short ball. But then again, you think, what if it doesn't come off? The one thing bowlers do is back off their strength. For me, Brett is one of those guys who never stops trying, and he stays with his strength, which is to be very aggressive.