In a shock to many, the Universe Boss – Chris Gayle remained unsold in the first two round of recently held IPL auction. However, the swashbuckling opener heaved a sigh of relief in the third and final round as Kings XI Punjab secured him by expending INR 2 crores.
Gayle, who wasn’t retained by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for IPL 2018, put his name in the auction with a base price of 2 crores. He was one of the 16 marquee players who took part in the auction.
Talking about the move to bid for Gayle at the last minute, KXIP director and mentor Virender Sehwag has said that the West Indian openers’ brand value speaks for himself and he can still prove to be a dangerous customer for any opponent.
“Simply having him (Gayle) in your side means a lot. Being an opening batsman, Gayle can prove to be a danger to any opposition,” Sehwag told www.amarujala.com.
“Gayle’s brand value speaks for himself and how effective he is in this format. We decided to bring in Gayle as a back-up option for the opening slots,” he further added.
As far as Gayle’s IPL stats are concerned – the 38-year-old has 3626 runs in 101 matches with a strike rate of 151.20 and average of 41.20. He has 5 hundreds in the tournament and has the highest score in IPL and T20 cricket of 175*. He has hit 265 sixes and 294 fours in the tournament, playing for Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore since 2008.
Gayle will now get an opportunity to play alongside Aaron Finch, R Ashwin and Yuvraj Singh in IPL 2018. Kings XI Punjab haven’t performed to their potential in the cash-rich Indian Premier League thus far. In the 10-year long history of the tournament, KXIP have qualified only twice in the playoffs. It will be interesting to see how the combination of new players will fare for the Punjab based franchise in the next season.