In a shock to many, 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 entered into the auction with a base price of INR 2 crores and the Punjab-based franchise secured him by spending the same amount.
Nearly two months after the auction, Gayle has admitted that he was surprised to see none of the eight IPL franchises showed interest in him in the first two rounds. Nonetheless, the Universe Boss feels he was destined to play for KXIP as he is the King himself.
“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,” Gayle quoted in an exclusive chat with TOI Sports.
Initially snubbed from Punjab’s playing XI, Gayle made a resounding comeback by playing a swashbuckling knock of 63 against CSK on April 15. The Jamaican opener followed it up with a blistering 104* against SRH and an unbeaten 62 against KKR. In his 4 innings of this year’s IPL, Gayle has amassed 252 runs so far.
When asked if he has proved his detractors wrong, Gayle 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,” he explained.
Gayle’s last IPL season with RCB wasn’t a fruitful one. However, with 485 runs in the BPL and 376 in the CPL, the 38-year-old was considered as one of the biggest draws for RCB.
“Not "one of". 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,” he asserted.
Gayle, who owns almost every T20 record, also revealed his two dreams that he would like to fulfill before calling time on his cricket career.
“Just two things: winning the IPL this year and the World Cup for West Indies next year. I believe West Indies have a big chance of winning the World Cup in 2019. I know we struggled in the qualifiers but now that we've made it, our next aim is to win it. But right now it's definitely the IPL. KXIP have never won it. Our owner Preity Zinta is so fantastic, so enthusiastic. The way she roots for her players is just amazing and I think she needs to lift the IPL trophy this year,” Chris Gayle concluded.