IPL 2017: Stuart Binny says RCB had no option but to drop Chris Gayle
Chris Gayle was surprisingly dropped for Royal Challengers Bangalore's match against Kings XI Punjab. RCB's Stuart Binny explains why.
What’s the story?
Royal Challengers Bangalore surprisingly dropped Chris Gayle, arguably cricket’s most prolific T20 player, in their loss against Kings XI Punjab in Indore on Monday evening. According to RCB all-rounder Stuart Binny, RCB were forced to make the change once AB de Villiers was declared fit to play.
Binny told the Hindustan Times: “It was not a tactical strategy but simply we had no other choice. As soon as AB de Villiers is fit he walks into RCB’s playing XI.”
“Shane Watson has batted in the top order for all his career, so there was no question of changing his position. We had no option but to drop Chris Gayle to make way for AB in the top order,” Binny continued.
In case you didn’t know…
Think IPL and the Royal Challengers and Gayle immediately comes to mind. However, the Jamaican has not been anywhere near his best of late, tallying just 196 runs in his last 10 T20 innings.
Sat on 9,975 runs, Gayle has been inching toward a history-making 10,000-run landmark in T20s, a milestone no player has managed in the format – but he’ll have to wait a little longer to reach the mark.
It was always going to be interesting to see how Bangalore managed their XI once AB de Villiers became available, and it was Gayle who paid the ultimate price.
Binny’s comments suggest that it may not be easy for Gayle to make a swift return, indicating that it was a straight swap between him and de Villiers. Meanwhile, as captain, Shane Watson may get some extra leeway, at least until Virat Kohli returns.
Ultra-quick Tymal Mills and Australian Billy Stanlake complete the Royal Challengers’ overseas quartet. Dropping Stanlake to make room for Gayle is perhaps not out of the question, but this would weaken the bowling for no guaranteed benefit, hence it seems improbable. However, much will depend on RCB’s form over the next couple of games.
Bangalore are back in action at the Chinnaswamy on Friday evening against the Mumbai Indians, before also hosting Rising Pune Supergiant on Sunday night. These games should be a better indicator of RCB’s formula going forward, and whether there will be a place for Gayle.
Dropping a player of Gayle’s calibre was always going to be an uncomfortable move, but it’s indicative of the cut-throat nature of the IPL’s overseas players rule. The 37-year-old has been out of form for a while, and it makes sense for the Royal Challengers to try something different since it’s still early in the season.
That considered, Gayle is still Gayle and it’s unlikely that he will be absent for too long, especially if Bangalore’s early struggles continue. Despite being captain, Watson looks a weak link right now. Unless he finds form soon, RCB drafting in Irfan Pathan – who has performed solidly for Baroda – to free up an overseas spot to bring Gayle back into the fold may be wise.