West Indies batting giant Chris Gayle has entertained numerous cricket fans with his heroics in the Indian Premier League (IPL) over the years. He has represented the likes of Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Punjab Kings until 2021. But this year, he left his fans in a state of dismay by pulling himself out of the mega auctions that happened earlier in February this year.
As the fifteenth edition of the tournament heads towards its business end, Gayle finally opened up about his decision. Speaking with leading English daily – Mirror, he cited a lack of ‘respect’ as the reason behind opting out of IPL 2022.
“For the last couple of years, the way the IPL went about, I felt like I wasn’t treated properly,” Gayle said, as quoted by 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. There is always going to be life after cricket so I’m just trying to adapt to normality,” he added.
He didn’t have a fixed spot in the playing XI during his stint with the Punjab Kings. Last year, Gayle featured in 10 games and scored 193 runs at a strike rate of 125.32. In 2020, he played just seven matches and amassed 288 runs.
Gayle, who is fondly called ‘Universe Boss’, went on to add that he will return to the cash-rich tournament next year, in 2023.
“Next year I’m coming back, they need me!” Gayle chuckled.
“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,” he concluded.
Gayle has 4,965 IPL runs to his credit in 142 matches. He also holds the record for the highest individual score in IPL history – 175, against Pune Warriors India in 2013.