Christopher Henry Gayle!
We sat down in front of the TV, just in time to see which team Rudra was going to play for that year. And it was Royal Challengers Bangalore. I looked at him waiting for a reaction. All he said was ‘Chalo, Gayle se toh bach gaya’ and he went off for his daily run.
It wasn’t until yesterday that these words became real for me. Muttiah Muralitharan was happy that he was on this side of the camp. Mahendra Singh Dhoni was happy that he is a wicketkeeper and not a bowler. It was only last year against Pune Warriors in Pune, the “Gayle Storm” had hit and Dilly signaled from the field to his wife to take his daughter to shelter before a ball hit her. All the wise-cracks that the best of the best players of this game have for Gayle are much more than just happy praises. He proved that yesterday. Not that he ever had a point to prove. Being there to witness the carnage was something else, and might require a whole new chapter to describe the feeling.
Still recovering from the unbelievable innings, we (RCB squad) reached the hotel as usual sometime before the team. But today no one wanted to go up back to their room. Exhausted as we were, everyone still wanted to stay and welcome the champion back home. The team was in as best spirits as one could expect, maybe even much more. Gayle’s heroics had rubbed off on everyone it seemed. Today everyone was a winner, some because they had scored and taken wickets, but all of them because they witnessed THIS from arguably one of the best seats in the house.
Jim, our beloved photographer, was busy revealing the dressing room celebrations that he had captured after the game to everyone who wanted to see what the players had to say. But today it wasn’t our blue-eyed boy Virat Kohli’s words that the crowd was waiting for. Everyone wanted to know what the big man from Jamaica had to say. After all he was the one who had experienced this like no other.
The team entered and cheers and celebrations erupted from the hundreds that had gathered. And there he was, the big man himself, surprisingly calm and unperturbed by all of this. Modest as ever about what he had just achieved. “Good game Chris. That was insane” said I. With a big smile on his face he replied “Thanks D! Did any come your way?” Thanking him and God with all my might that none did and I was safe, I made a mental note of carrying a helmet for the next game and walked back in to my room., still in quite a daze at what I had just witnessed.
The night had really just begun, as soon after the team was to go for the Signature After Party. Needless to stay all eyes were on one man that night. Another special event in the RCB camp was the return of Sidhartha Mallya. The team’s favorite mascot was back, and he was basking in the glory of his homecoming victory delighted with this unreal start to his IPL season.
This was truly an unbelievable day. What a perfect time too before the team sets off on a three week tour for the rest of their away games. They bid adieu to their home ground in high spirits, giving the home fans something to hang on to before they return nearly a month later to finish the remaining 2 of their 8 home games at the Chinnaswamy again.
For now, its pack, fly, unpack, play, pack, fly for us. Until next time RCB’ians.