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WI selectors do RCB big favor..!!

Chris Gayle returns..!!

Anil Kumble is more than just the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) mentor. In fact, he’s the one who suggested to the Vijay Mallya-owned franchise that Chris Gayle be taken on board as replacement for Dirk Nannes.

Not like for like, but Kumble knows a thing or two about performers.

Gayle made his RCB debut on Friday and took the franchise which didn’t retain him, the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), to the cleaners. In doing so, the West Indies’ former captain became the IPL’s 15th centurion.

His 102 not out, which earned the MoM award, came off 55 deliveries (10x4, 7x6).

Typically, Kumble, who got the Test captaincy towards the end of his distinguished career, chose to play down his role when The Telegraphcontacted him an hour after RCB’s thumping win.

“We know what Gayle is capable of... Once he was available, I did suggest that we sign him,” Kumble said, pleased that the Jamaican had delivered despite the jet lag.

Clearly, the West Indies selectors have done RCB a big favour and, equally, great disservice to the nine other franchises. After all, had Gayle not been overlooked for the ongoing series against Pakistan, he wouldn’t have been part of the good times brigade.

Perhaps because of the Pakistan series, Gayle remained unsold at the auction, in January. That he hadn’t really made a difference to KKR may also have been a reason.

Whatever, it’s strange when a blaster like Gayle, who is credited with the first-ever century in a T20 International (117 against South Africa, in match No.1 of the World T20 competition) isn’t considered for a limited overs tournament.

Not that Gayle, 31, hasn’t been an impact-maker in Test cricket: He has two triple centuries and an average of 40-plus.

It took Gayle 17 appearances to smash his maiden three-figure knock in the IPL, but if he wanted to make a statement, then he couldn’t have chosen a better day. Nor a better venue than the Eden.

Walking off, Gayle pointed to his bat and indicated that it had done the talking. That it wasn’t necessary for him to personally respond to the critics, back in the West Indies or elsewhere.

According to RCB coach Ray Jennings, the team had spoken at length about “what it takes to be a champion” in the hours leading up to the match. Suitably ‘educated’, Gayle put it into practice.

The nine-wicket win, with 11 balls remaining (it would have come quicker had Virat Kohli not ensured that Gayle wasn’t stranded on 98), took RCB from No.9 on the table to No.5.

At the end of the day, the margin was huge, but RCB had begun disastrously, with Zaheer Khan conceding 19 in the opening over.

“He plays it only one way,” is how Kohli saluted Gayle. Gautam Gambhir, the KKR captain, had little to say. “It was one of those (epic) innings... He just never let us get into the game...”

The man of the moment, Gayle, admitted that he’d been wanting a century in the IPL. “God is good, God is great,” he remarked.

While the KKR’s principal owner, Shah Rukh Khan, went over to the RCB dressing room (before Mallya, by the way) and congratulated destroyer Gayle, the latter gave his old franchise’s co-owner, Jay Mehta, a hug, at the presentation ceremony.

Fine gestures from both sides.

Incidentally, believe it or not, Gayle hadn’t touched a bat for a month, not since the March 23 World Cup quarter final against Pakistan, in Dhaka.

And, when he did...

Speaking exclusively on Thursday night, fellow-opener Tillekaratne Dilshan had said: “I’d rather be playing with him (Gayle) than against him.”

Dilshan could say that one more time.

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Latest comments

Indeed they have done.. But I have a qn here, what abt the next year, can RCB have both Nannes and Gayle with them for next year..? Since Gayle is here just as a replacement for Nannes..!!
czech on 24 Apr 2011, 02:15 AM
yeah, the West Indies selectors did favor us... Gayle has now come to us :)
aka on 24 Apr 2011, 12:33 AM
kumble leading the team i think
nnaa on 23 Apr 2011, 10:50 PM