Wed | Oct 28, 2020

Gayle open to any Kings XI batting role

Published:Saturday | October 17, 2020 | 12:15 AM

SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates (CMC):

Jamaica and West Indies batsman Chris Gayle says he is open to playing any role in the batting order for Kings XI Punjab in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL).

The 41-year-old, who has scored the bulk of his over 13,000 runs in Twenty20s (T20) in the opening slot, has struggled to break into the side this season due to success of the opening pair of KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal.

In his first match of the season on Thursday, however, Gayle struck 53 off 45 deliveries batting at number three, helping Kings XI to their second win of the season – an eight-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).

“It was a good innings. My first innings in IPL [this season],” said the left-hander who is the record-holder for runs in T20s with 13,349.

“The team asked me to do a job [at three] and I delivered. It wasn’t an issue. The openers have been really batting well right throughout the tournament, so we didn’t want to trouble that [partnership].

“I accepted the job, delivered tonight and I’m thankful everybody got the chance to see a bit of Chris but the win was more so important for the team.”

Gayle has been one of the most dominant batsmen in the IPL’s history with 4,537 runs, six hundreds and an average of 41, leaving him eighth on the all-time list of tournament run-scorers.

After several successful season at RCB, Gayle was released and picked up by Kings XI and last season showed he had lost little of his touch in gathering 490 runs at an average of 40, along with four fifties.

However, with captain Rahul amassing 448 runs and Agarwal, 382, there has been no room for Gayle but he said the time on the sidelines had done him well.

“I thought it was important to keep fit. To be honest, I didn’t want to be on the bench but I was enjoying it. It kind of helped,” Gayle explained.

“Apart from the sickness, I was beginning to get more fitter – get the six-pack going, the beach body going. I’ll keep on doing work and hopefully, we’ll win the next game.”

Kings XI have struggled this season, however, and currently lie bottom of the eight-team standings on four points from just two wins in eight outings.