Chris Gayle is hurting at his lack of Big Bash League (BBL) runs according to Sydney Thunder coach Shane Duff, as his team strive to avoid the ignominy of a winless season.
Big-hitting West Indies star Gayle has contributed just 70 runs from five innings at a paltry average of 14 for the Thunder who are anchored to the bottom of the BBL ladder.
They slumped to 0-6 with a four-wicket home loss to cross-town rivals Sydney Sixers at ANZ Stadium on Sunday night, when Gayle's lack of form was the subject of a public jibe from opposing skipper Brad Haddin, sparking a response from the big batsman via Twitter on Monday.
Duff said Gayle couldn't have had the international success he'd enjoyed without being an extremely competitive person, even though his trademark laidback demeanour would inevitably raise eyebrows when he wasn't scoring runs.
"It's always the issue if you're not scoring runs - people think he's not trying," Duff told AAP.
"But I can assure you he's giving his absolute best to the team.
"He's just having a bad run at the moment. He's a human being and he's definitely hurting and I know how determined he is to score runs for us and help the team to win a game."
Haddin rubbed salt into Gayle's disappointment in a post-innings interview when dismissed by the West Indian amid on-field banter, saying he'd been "all talk so far this tournament" and "at least the Thunder fans have seen Chris Gayle do something for his money".
"Haddin dig at him self to get back a test game! ScarFaceLine... "The World is Mine" I'm the world champion/ World Boss!," tweeted Gayle.
"Also tell him stop watch my money and watch him self!! Not my fault he ain't good as I am even if I bat right hand."
The Thunder, who haven't won since December 23 last year, have two tough matches remaining against finals aspirants Perth Scorchers and Melbourne Stars.
Duff said it was critical that they break their drought in the next two games, but stressed their morale remained good despite their winless year.
"One thing about our guys is we haven't thrown the towel in at all," Duff said.
"We've stuck well together. It's been a real credit to the guys that they keep turning up and there's real good spirit and harmony amongst them."
He was philosophical about media rumours circulating about the futures of Thunder boss John Dyson and the playing roster.
"I think when a team has had minimal success, that's always going to occur," Duff said.