ODI debut: v India at Toronto, 1999
Right-arm off-break bowler
Since the retirement of Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes, the West Indies have been searching for a top-class opening pair.
In Gayle, they might have found a partial answer to their problem, and what is more, he can do a job as a fifth bowler although he needs to get a tighter grip on his economy.
At just 23, the Jamaican is proving a formidable opener and part of a new generation of batsmen that the West Indies hope will restore the team to their former glories.
He is a clinical and brutal striker of the ball who trades heavily in boundaries, particularly strong driving through both point and cover.
After a slow start to his career Gayle blossomed in 2002, ending the year with three centuries against India in November.
They helped him become the fourth West Indian, and the first since 1993, to score 1,000 runs in a calendar year, joining exalted company in Haynes, Viv Richards and Brian Lara.
He endured a mixed World Cup, hitting form just once with his 119 in his side's final match of the tournament against Kenya.
He has yet to face Australia in one-day cricket.