RCB told me they wanted to retain me, but didn’t call after that: KXIP star Chris Gayle

Chris Gayle IPL 2018
Image Credit - PTI

Chris Gayle was bought for INR 2 crore by Kings XI Punjab at the IPL 2018 player auction, and the move by KXIP is paying off with huge profits, as the Universe Boss is making the bowling units of opponent tems his victim, going out on the front foot early on and tallying high scores for the Punjab side. Speaking with Times of India in an interview, Gayle revealed that he was approached by his former team Royal Challengers Bangalore ahead of the IPL 2018 auctions, who expressed the need of the Jamaican star in their team, but ignored him later on.

Gayle was a mystery at the IPL 2018 auctions, as many teams had not seemed too willing to get their hands on the West Indies explosive batsman. Earlier in 2011, there had been a similar situation when Gayle had remained unsold during IPL players’ auction. However, the Royal Challengers Bangalore had named Chris Gayle a replacement for their injured Dirk Nannes, which made way for the Universe Boss to set the boundaries on fire as he tallied 3,163 runs across seven seasons, and made the RCB a fan-favourite team.

The IPL 2018 auction pronounced similar happenings as due to his poor performance in the last season, where Chris Gayle scored 200 runs in nine matches, franchises were not willing to put their money on him. However, Kings XI Punjab who had already spent majority of their money in forming the core of the team, grabbed Chris Gayle in the finishing hours of the bidding action for INR 2 crore. And now, Chris Gayle has tallied over 250 runs in 4 matches, registering a strike rate of 151 which includes an unbeaten century. In other words, now the teams who had ignored the West Indies star batsman, are becoming wary of being on the wrong end of the “Gaylestorm”.

Chris Gayle has nothing to worry in IPL 2018

Chris Gayle exploded in the starting matches of Kings XI Punjab, scoring three fifties and an unbeaten 100 in his first four innings. Speaking in the interview, Gayle said that although he was selected in the last round of the IPL 2018 auctions, he had nothing to worry. He said,

“I don’t know if I’ve actually proved them wrong. There are always going to be doubters but at the same time I didn’t have anything to prove. My records speak for themselves. Even though I was selected in the very last round of the auction, I wasn’t really worried about it. Even if it was the end of it , there is life… a life beyond cricket, beyond the IPL. At some stage, you are going to walk away from the IPL and other forms of cricket. So I was never too intrigued. This is how I’ve always been, living in the present. But given the sense that I was picked up and playing for a new franchise, it was very pleasing. And the way I have played in the first three games, I think it has been fantastic. I’m very happy with where I’m at.”

RCB wanted me in the team, but never called back: Gayle

Chris Gayle’s last season with RCB had been abysmal, but bouncing back in form in the Caribbean Premier League and the Bangladesh Premier League, Gayle had proved that he still had a lot of fuel left in him. However, speaking about the snub that he faced from his former IPL team, Royal Challengers Bangalore, for whom he was the biggest draw in Indian Premier League 2017, Gayle said,

“I was their biggest draw. It was disappointing from that end, because they had called me. They wanted me in the team and I was told that I will be retained. But they never called back after that. So that gave me the impression that they didn’t want me and it’s fine. As I said, I can’t fight with anyone. I think I had a wonderful CPL and BPL – where I scored two centuries for my side Rangpur Riders. The stats don’t lie: 21 centuries, most number of sixes. If that doesn’t put a stamp on brand Chris Gayle, I don’t know what will.”

On being ignored by majority of the franchises in IPL 2018 and King Gayle’s entry to Kings XI Punjab.

“I’ll be honest in admitting that it was very surprising for me to not get picked by any team. I don’t know what went behind closed doors but I also understand that these things happen. It’s just the way it is. But it’s fine. I’ve moved on from it. Like I said, it’s a great opportunity to be playing for King XI Punjab and so far I’ve had a great time. Perhaps it was supposed to happen, you know. King Gayle; destined to be playing for Kings XI Punjab.”

Coming after a not-so-explosive run in IPL 2017, Chris Gayle is really tearing apart the statistics charts in IPL 2018, hitting sixes easier than singles and boundaries. Speaking about his current form, and if it needed some sort of reinvention, Gayle explained,

“Because I’m the Universe Boss (laughs). But on a serious note, the first time I understood the need of it was when I injured my back in 2015 and underwent surgery. It’s the old rule of the game you know, with serious injuries, your approach changes. I’ve dealt with injuries before as well but none was as tricky as my back. It required a lot of monitoring and that is when I thought I can’t be going in with the same approach everytime. So I began biding more time at the crease. I am using my experience a lot more now.”

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