Explosive Jamaica and West Indies opener Chris Gayle was not retained by Indian Premier League (IPL) team Royal Challenger Bangalore for the 11th season of the lucrative Twenty20 league.
The IPL player retention event took place in Mumbai on Thursday, just a few days after the 37-year-old failed to spark during the West Indies tour of New Zealand.
However, it was a surprising move by RCB not to retain Gayle, who with 3420 runs from 91 matches stands at second in their all-time table, and who in 2012 and 2013 won the Orange Cap for most runs in a season.
Gayle’s exploits in an RCB jersey features a record five centuries, a record score of 175 not out and the most sixes, a whopping 263.
The Jamaican was disappointing in the last IPL season, with just one half-century in nine innings but the big-hitting opener enjoyed success in other leagues in 2017. Most recently, he hit a record 18 sixes during his unbeaten 146 for Rangpur Riders in the Bangladesh Premier League final. Gayle scored 485 run in the BPL, at a strike-rate of 176.36. Prior to that, he collected 376 runs in the Caribbean Premier League, hitting four fifties in 11 innings.
Gayle will now have to head to the player action in Bangalore on January 27-28. However, he could still be retained under the franchise’s Right to Match (RTM), which will take place during the IPL player auction on January 27-28.
Gayle was not the only big name player that was overlooked as two-time IPL winners Kolkata Knight Riders did not retain the man who led them to glory in 2012 and 2014, Gautam Gambhir and allrounder Yusuf Pathan.
Meanwhile, West Indies players Andre Russell of Jamaica and Trinidadian Sunil Narine were retained by Kolkata Knight Riders.
The player retention is the first step towards the franchises reforming their squads ahead of the 2018 IPL player auction. After the 2017 IPL, the 10th year of the tournament, the existing squads were disbanded, apart from the players retained by the teams.