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IPL auction 2018: Chris Gayle thrown a lifeline as Kings XI Punjab pick him for base price

Chris Gayle, the Jamaican face of Twenty20 cricket’s global expansion, twice goes unsold before being bought by Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 auction for his base price Rs 2 crore.

cricket Updated: Jan 28, 2018 19:15 IST
N. Ananthanarayanan
N. Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
IPL auction 2018,IPL auction,Chris Gayle
Chris Gayle has been bought by Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) for the 2018 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). (Twitter )

Chris Gayle, the man who gave heft to stand-and-deliver in the world of Twenty20 cricket, was almost gone from the Indian Premier League (IPL) after 10 glorious years. (IPL AUCTION DAY 2 HIGHLIGHTS)

The 38-year-old Jamaican enforcer, whose fitness and form have been on a steady slide over the last year of so, twice went unsold, on Saturday and on Sunday morning as the T20 showman’s time in IPL seemed to have ended.

However, Gayle was brought back into the auction one last time, and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), co-owned by actor Preity Zinta and mentored by Virender Sehwag, got him for his base price of Rs 2 crore.

(Read | Jaydev Unadkat, seen as priceless asset, trumps Mitchell Starc as biggest bowler buy in IPL auction 2018)

Gayle had been part of the batting galaxy of Royal Challengers Bangalore, along with Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, but his weak hamstring and poor form played a part in the team ending up last in IPL 2017.

(Read | IPL auction 2018: Juhi Chawla’s daughter Jhanvi, Ambani’s son Akash grab eyeballs)

Chris Gayle, a magnet to T20 fans worldwide, didn’t play in the Big Bash League this season, having courted a major controversy after he was fined for comments to an Australian woman TV interviewer. He then successfully sued Australian media after a female massage therapist accused him of exposing himself in the dressing room during the 2015 World Cup.

(Read | Sandeep Lamichhane, bought by Delhi Daredevils, becomes 1st Nepal cricketer in IPL)

However, he had redemption of sorts in the 2017 Bangladesh Premier League. Playing for Rangpur Riders, the Jamaican finished as the top run-getter with a tally of 485 in 11 matches at an average of 53.88. His strike-rate was 176.36. In the final of BPL, Gayle scored an unbeaten 146 off 69 balls to help Rangpur Riders defeat Dhaka Dynamites. He blasted 18 sixes in that innings – a world record.

But again Chris Gayle’s form slumped when he was back in West Indies’ maroon for the limited-overs series in New Zealand in December-January, scoring 22 and 4 in the ODIs and 12 and 0 in the two games he batted.

The man who owns the record for the fastest T20 century – in 30 balls for RCB against Pune Warriors in the IPL 2013 – has got once last chance thanks to KXIP’s late buy.

Can he stand and deliver again one last time, is the big question.

First Published: Jan 28, 2018 16:37 IST