Chris Gayle, a beloved figure in India and one of the greatest-ever cricketers, did not enroll for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 mega auction, and thus missed out on a chance to get picked up by a team for the 15th edition. But the 'Universe Boss' is making his presence felt in the world's greatest T20 cricket league, albeit in a different capacity.
The 42-year-old Jamaican has revealed why he didn't enter the IPL draft with a tinge of sadness. But there's also a part where he blamed the lucrative league for not treating him properly.
“For the last couple of years, the way the IPL went about, I felt like I wasn’t treated properly,” Gayle told Mirror.co.uk. “So I thought ‘okay, you (Gayle) didn’t get the respect you deserved after you did so much for the sport and IPL.’ So I said ‘okay, that’s it, I’m not going to bother to enter the draft,’ so I left it as it is."
His comments have already made flutters in India.
Gayle, a left-handed opener, joined IPL Kolkata Knight Riders in 2009, then moved to Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2011. He spent six years with the Bengaluru-based franchise, establishing himself as probably the most destructive batter in the league. He later joined Punjab Kings in 2018, and was subsequently released.
Gayle retired from international cricket in November 2021, but still turns up for T20 cricket leagues around the world.
Gayle is the sixth highest run-getter in the IPL with 4965 runs in 142 matches at a strike rate of 148.96. He has the most centuries (six), most sixes (357), fastest century (30 balls), and the highest score (175 not out).
But the legend struggled to find match time in the last two seasons. In his last season (IPL 2021), Chris Gayle played 10 matches for Punjab Kings, scoring 193 runs at a strike rate of 125.32. In the previous season, he got to play only seven matches. But he scored 288 runs at an average of 41.14.
"There is always going to life after cricket so I’m just trying to adapt to normality," Gayle said while promising to make a comeback to IPL. “Next year I’m coming back, they need me!” the triple test centurion chuckled. “I’ve represented three teams in the IPL, Kolkata, RCB and Punjab."
Despite his outstanding performance in IPL, Chris Gayle didn't win a title. He came close to lifting the trophy twice though, in the 2011 and 2016 seasons with Royal Challengers Bangalore. But they ended up losing both the finals. Now, he wants to win it.
"Between RCB and Punjab, I would love to get a title, with one of those two teams. I had a great stint with RCB where I was more successful within the IPL, and Punjab, they’ve been good. I love to explore and I love challenges so let's see what happens," Gayle said.
Meanwhile, IPL 2022 has entered a decisive stage in the league phase. After 53 matches, two debutants -- Lucknow Super Giants and Gujarat Titans -- lead the table with 16 points each. RCB are fourth with 12 points.
PBKS are 7th in the ten-team table with 10 points from 11 matches.