Gayle returns to his 'second home'

Gayle returns to his 'second home'

Gayle returns to his 'second home'

Virat Kohli maybe the longest-serving member of the Royal Challengers Bangalore, having been part of it since the first edition but no one player has had more impact on the team than Chris Gayle.

Brought into the side as a replacement for the injured Australian paceman Dirk Nannes in 2011, Gayle took the IPL by storm and became an instant hit with the Bengaluru crowd. From 2011 to 2017, Gayle represented RCB in 91 matches, scoring 3420 runs at an average of 43.29 and a strike rate in excess of 150. He struck five hundreds and 21 half-centuries as he played a crucial role in Bangalore's two final appearances 2011 and 2016. These are staggering numbers but the manner in which he brought those runs was even more astonishing.

His unbeaten 175 against Pune Warriors in 2013 here at the M Chinnaswamy will rank as one of the most brutal innings which he brought up in mere 66 balls after blasting his way to the fastest T20 century in 30 balls. Gayle provided many such moments and he became inseparable with RCB and became a brand in himself. He called Bangalore his second home and developed a special bond with the city and its loyal fans.

His poor returns in the last two editions and RCB's long-term plans, however, forced the Bengaluru franchise to look beyond the big Jamaican but his performances with the bat and the entertainment he provided with his merciless pounding of the bowling attacks will linger much longer than his seven-year association with the side.

Gayle was bought by Kings XI Punjab after going unsold twice this auction and he is in the City for their match against the hosts on Friday. It's unlikely that the West Indian batsman will get to play after the kind of start they had in their opener but his mere appearance at the ground is sure to send the RCB faithfuls into a frenzy.

RCB coach Daniel Vettori acknowledged Gayle's contribution to the side. "We probably won't anticipate playing against Chris tomorrow with the way that they set their team up in the first game and with Aaron Finch coming back into the side. But if he does and if any team knows how good he is, that is RCB and what he has done for the team for a number of years. We are fully aware of his strengths and how we can handle him," he remarked.


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