Who would have known that the universal boss, the six-hitting machine and the very chirpy, always happy Chris Gayle would come out with allegations of mistreatment, that too in one of the biggest cricketing leagues of the world, the IPL. As if the fact that the batter withheld himself from participating in the auction of the league’s 15th edition wasn’t enough the reason behind this decision is even more startling.
Chris Gayle’s IPL Journey
The left-handed batsman isn’t a new name in the Indian version of the league. He joined in 2009 and has since played innumerable matches, entertaining the crowd with his power-hitting skills. The Jamaican has donned the jerseys of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Kolkatta Knight Riders (KKR) and Punjab Kings in his 13-year IPL journey and has some glaring records to his name including the highest individual score in IPL history (175*), a 30 balls century, and hitting most sixes in an innings (17). Amassing 4965 runs at a strike rate of 148.96, Gayle is one of the top scorers in the premier league.
What Really Happened?
But despite these and many more records couldn’t prevent his mistreatment at the hands of some. Talking to a private media platform, the 42-year-old opened up about his reason for not registering himself for the 2022 edition auction. The batter shared how he did not receive the respect he deserved.
He said, “For the last couple of years, the way the IPL went about, I felt like I wasn’t treated properly. 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. There is always going to be life after cricket so I’m just trying to adapt to normality,”
The West Indies batter has been with the Punjab Kings for the last two seasons. Bought for a base price of 2 crores, Chris Gayle’s last season with the Kings did not go as planned and his performance with the bat was rather weak. He scored just 193 runs in 10 matches with 46 runs as his highest in the first half of the season before covid halted the matches.
When play resumed in October, the star batter distanced himself from the franchise citing bubble fatigue. However, fellow cricketers Kevin Peterson and Sunil Gavaskar suggested that the Punjab Kings haven’t been very nice to the player. Former England batsman, Peterson, told the media how Chris Gayle was unhappy with the franchise’s environment.
“He is not being treated right in his environment. He feels like they are using him and getting rid of him, using him and getting rid of him. Didn’t play him on his birthday, cast him aside. If he is not happy, he is 42, let him do what he wants,” added Kevin Peterson.
Before Chris Gayle, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal opened up about his abuse at the hands of Mumbai Indians’ players in the starting seasons of the league. Hence this is not the first time players have come out and voiced their concern about the mistreatments.
The Batter’s Return in the IPL
One can not simply keep the left-handed batsman out of cricket and especially from IPL for a long time. Whatever happened, the 42-year-old is ready to take his role back and help a franchise clinch a title next year.
“Next year I’m coming back, they need me! I’ve represented three teams in the IPL, Kolkata, RCB, and Punjab. 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.” added Chris Gayle.
The 15th edition of the IPL is underway these days and currently, the new entrants Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) are sitting at the top of the points table.