Legendary India batsman Sunil Gavaskar was astonished as Punjab Kings (PBKS) decided to not include veteran batsman Chris Gayle in their playing XI for their IPL 2021 encounter against Rajasthan Royals (RR) in Dubai on September 21, 2021.
Apart from Gavaskar, fellow commentator Kevin Pietersen was also shocked by Gayle’s exclusion especially as he celebrates his 42nd birthday today. PBKS skipper KL Rahul mentioned that the four overseas players the team went ahead with are Nicholas Pooran, Adil Rashid, Aiden Markram, and Fabian Allen.
“There will be some questions asked. I don’t understand why you would leave Chris Gayle out on his birthday. If there was one game you were going to play him, it was this one. If he failed then you say ‘ok, you can have a bit of rest’. So I can’t understand the thinking at all,” Pietersen said on Star Sports.
Gavaskar, on the other hand, cited Gayle’s record across the T20 leagues in the world and said that it made zero sense in excluding him from the playing XI.
“I, like KP, am absolutely astonished that Chris Gayle is not playing today. The four overseas players that have been picked today, can play brilliantly and win the game for Punjab Kings today. But the fact remains that on your birthday, you are leaving one of the stellar players of T20 format. Not just in IPL – the CPL, the Big Bash. You name it, every single T20 league he has dominated. And you drop him for this game om on his birthday, it makes zero sense,” explained Gavaskar.
Maybe his form in the first half of the IPL 2021 played a role in Gayle not getting a game on his birthday, as he made 178 runs at an average of 25.42 without a single half-century in all the 8 games he played.