Like his friend and ‘foe’ Usain Bolt, the world’s second fastest man, Yohan Blake, is a complete showman. He likes playing to the gallery, doesn’t shy away from making tall claims and enjoys every bit of attention he gets.
Sunday was no different. Soon after claiming the 100m silver medal, the 22-year-old Jamaican sprinter was in his element. He posed for the photographers and mingled with the press for close to an hour. He, in fact, made his future plans clear. And no, the 100m gold medal at the Rio Games in 2016 isn't his only target.
While passing through the mixed zone, an area where the journalists can interact with the athletes, Blake glanced at a couple of accreditation cards – including the one worn by your correspondent – and stopped for a quick chat. “You from India, mate?” he asked. Not waiting for a reply, he carried on: “Know what? I am coming there next year. I’ll play in the IPL.”
As it turns out, Blake used to play cricket for the Kingston Cricket Club in Jamaica before moving over to sprints. He claims to be a right-arm fast bowler, and can bowl quicker than Zaheer Khan. Blake’s close friend and training partner Bolt, too, played cricket before pursuing athletics.
“I love cricket... India loves cricket. But you know what, I can bowl faster than Zaheer Khan,” he said. “I followed the Indian team when they were at the Caribbean last time. I know Sachin Tendulkar, MS (Dhoni), Virat Kohli, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid... these are the guys I know.”
Blake was one of the many stars who gave the Delhi Commonwealth Games a skip. However, the Jamaican superstar said he missed out on an opportunity to visit India during the Commonwealth Games because his coach wanted him to rest.
However, he “wants to come down to the subcontinent later this year or next year. “I want to play in the IPL. I am working hard for it. Really,” Blake said, barely half-an-hour after completing the 100m in 9.75 seconds.
Blake said he is a big fan of Kohli but admires Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar. “My favourite cricketer is Lara. I also like Tendulkar and Dhoni. But Virat is young and a great player. I really love watching him play,” he said.
A good friend of Chris Gayle, Blake said the West Indies superstar has told him to pursue cricket seriously. “Chris is a great friend and I follow his side very closely. I also like Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai (Super Kings). But I want to play for Royal Challengers Bangalore because of Chris,” he said.