What's the story?
West Indies opener and T20 superstar Chris Gayle remained non-committal when asked about taking part in next year's Indian Premier League for Royal Challengers Bangalore. The 37-year-old said that the decision is with RCB and admitted that there is still a cloud of uncertainty, hanging around player retention and how the auction will work, especially with the addition of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals.
In a Facebook live video hosted by Cricinfo, when asked about whether he will be retained by the Royal Challengers Bangalore ahead of IPL 2018, the West Indian opener said: "That will be up to them, to be honest. The auction will be open to any particular team but at the same time, RCB have been fantastic. To be associated with such a franchise, it has been brilliant.
"You don't know what the rules will actually be when that time comes around as well. Hopefully, fingers crossed, you will see Gayle storm in the IPL."
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The southpaw has been with the RCB since 2011 when he went unsold only to be snapped up in what proved to be one of the deals of the tournament. Since then, he has played 91 games for the franchise and scored 3,420 runs at an average of nearly 44 and strike rate in excess of 150.
However, with the uncertainty surrounding the number of players that can be retained by each franchise, especially with the return of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, his future at the franchise is far from settled.
In the last two seasons of the IPL, Gayle has managed just 427 runs from 19 matches at an average of just over 22 (just over half his career average) and strike rate of under 140 (also well below his career s/r or his strike rate for the franchise until then).
The 11th edition of the Indian Premier League will see the return of both CSK and RR and also a bumper auction in which, wholesale changes are expected. Like most players, Gayle will be awaiting the rules for the same, with bated breath and hope to take part in the tournament.
There is little doubt that when it comes to T20, there is one man who towers above everyone else. Chris Gayle has every record in the book when it comes to T20s but at 37, even he cannot continue to perform in the same vein forever. His last two seasons for RCB were a testament to that and it will be interesting to see who and how many players RCB will retain.
With Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers likely to be top amongst their list of players to retain, the rule regarding the number of players a side can retain is likely to dictate where Gayle remains with RCB or is snapped up by another side.Published 14 Jul 2017, 16:02 IST