In the 2018 Indian Premier League Player Auction, no team moved a limb to get Chris Gayle on their side. It was surprising for the teams as well as the fans who knew the stalwart could hit big runs and draw any team to a finish. As the auction grew to a close, it was Kings XI Punjab who finally stepped up to the moment and bought the player for Rs. 2 crore, his base price. This was the most unexpected moment of the auction as an explosive player like Gayle could not even get an inch above his base-price.
In an interview with Times of India, Gayle expressed his surprise on not being picked up on priority. He said, “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 (KXIP) 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.”
Gayle started his Indian Premier League career with Kolkata Knight Riders where he played in the 2008, 2009 and 2010. In 2011, he was picked by Royal Challengers Bangalore as a replacement for injured Dirk Nannes, with whom he spent the next 7 years of IPL. During this time, Gayle was the staple of the team and he scored 3,163 runs for the team at an average of 43.33. His strike rate was 152.6. In 2017, the player had a rather disappointing run in the tournament, averaging just 22.22. RCB decided that they no longer want to retain the player for the 2018 season.
Gayle said that the officials at RCB stayed in touch with him, suggesting that they wanted him in the team but never called him back. He 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.”
He added, “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.”
Kings XI are happy to have Gayle on their side as the player has brought some great matches their way. The Jamaican player has already smashed 252 runs in only four matches and his average is a whopping 126. When asked about proving RCB wrong in dropping him, 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.”