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October 20, 2009

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Bolt is good with the bat and ball too

TRIPLE Olympic and world champion record sprinter Usain Bolt of Jamaica returned to his first love, cricket, on Sunday and showed that he certainly knows how to handle both bat and ball.

In a charity match, just down the coast from his home town of Trelawny, Bolt bowled West Indies opening batsman Chris Gayle after earlier delighting a packed crowd by smashing his Jamaican compatriot for a straight six.

"It has been tremendous for the fans to see him out here playing cricket, it has been a great day and we hope to have him back again next year," said Gayle.

Bolt, taking a long run up and bowling at a respectable pace, had given Gayle a traditional West Indian welcome with his first ball - a rising bouncer that brought the crowd to their feet.

"I told Chris to watch out I was going to give him one but he didn't really believe it," Bolt said.

Gayle's team included former West Indian pace bowlers Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose.

"I liked his first delivery to Chris Gayle, short and very surprising - he's an athlete and he loves cricket and football and obviously he can't fit it all in but he looks good," Ambrose said.

"He's good with the bat too - after his six I asked him 'where did that come from?' and he said 'it's all coming back now'. He's a good decent cricketer," said Ambrose.

Bolt, who batted with his brother Sadeeki, made 13 with the bat, including his superbly struck six off Gayle's off-spin, but looked more rusty batting than when running in to bowl.

"I was pretty good as a kid and my cricket coach said I should concentrate on bowling because I was pretty quick running in," Bolt, who only switched to athletics during high school, said.

"I also used to open the batting for the school team but I haven't batted for a long time," he said.

"The six was a brilliant feeling though. I shouldn't have got out so early but that six was a brilliant shot."


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