Fondly known as Universe Boss, Chris Gayle had gone unsold in the first two rounds of this year’s IPL auction before Kings XI Punjab bid for him in the third and final round. Gayle, who wasn’t retained by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for IPL 2018, had thrown his hat into the auction ring with a base price of INR 2 crores and the Punjab-based franchise roped him in by spending the same amount.
Nearly two months after the auction, KXIP’s co-owner Ness Wadia has revealed how the team had almost lost the swashbuckling Caribbean opener, thinking that it had run out of cash.
"We had only Rs 2.1 crore left and if we had bid for Chris earlier (at the auction) and another team came up with a counter bid, we did not have the money to buy him. Luckily, no other team bid for him and we were more than happy to get third time lucky," Wadia quoted as saying by PTI.
Likewise, veteran India batsman Yuvraj Singh was also bought at a base price of INR 2 crores by the KXIP franchise. While Gayle is proving the worth of his money, Yuvi is yet to silence his critics in the ongoing IPL. In fact, the southpaw was snubbed from the playing eleven against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Thursday (April 26).
"Yuvi is not among the runs at the moment but we hope that he will bounce back. He is of good value to the franchise and that is why we got him back," Wadia said.
The big bucks spent at the auction seem to have paid-off for KXIP as the Ravichandran Ashwin led side have won 5 out of 7 matches thus far. Apart from Gayle, the likes of KL Rahul, Ankit Rajpoot and young Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Zadran have stood out for Punjab.
"We wanted to build a team for the long term. We wanted to spend more money. We wanted an Indian captain and to be honest we wanted Ashwin at any cost. He is a genius and knows what it takes to win (having won IPL at CSK),” Wadia asserted.
"We were very clear that if we spent the money we would get what we were looking for. That was the difference with the old strategy. Bringing an Indian captain also brings in a lot of flexibility," he concluded.