Kings XI Punjab got off to a stellar start in the VIVO Indian Premier League on Sunday when they steamrolled Delhi Daredevils in a resounding victory.
But despite the incredible display of spin bowling and blazing half centuries, there was one burning question that fans were asking – where is Chris Gayle?
“It was a management decision to go with the combination we felt was right,” reasoned captain Ravichandran Ashwin explaining the final XI for Punjab’s season-opener. “Once we got the combination right, we wanted to trust it and go ahead with it.”
But Gayle was certainly present in spirit – what with Lokesh Rahul going on to smash a belligerent 14-ball fifty – his powerful shots something he must have picked up from the Universe Boss during their time together at Royal Challengers Bangalore.
In a mid-match interview with Brett Lee on Sunday, Gayle was asked about his exclusion too, and how it affects him going into the rest of the season.
“I had a good net session in last couple of days, fitting in perfectly with the guys,” the big man from Jamaica said. “I am looking forward for an opportunity to go in the middle. I am going to wait patiently and see how it comes along.”
Even at the age of 38, Gayle is fit as a fiddle, and prides over his six-pack abs that help him smack some sixes into packed crowds.
“I am fit and still hungry for the game. The fans always want to see entertainment as much as possible, so I am trying to stay around for as long as possible,” said Gayle, who has unsurprisingly hit the most sixes in the IPL by far.
The highest individual run-getter against KXIP, Gayle will be looking to do more of the same, but now from the KXIP corner.
“Whenever I go to bat, everyone expects me to score a hundred or hit lot of sixes. Given an opportunity, I’ll do my thing again,” he said, with the familiar massive grin on his face.
With a match against RCB at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on the horizon, it will be interesting to see if the southpaw will be picked against his former team. One thing is for certain though – that the Gayle Storm is ready to devastate.