New Delhi: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have finally managed to retain the explosive Chris Gayle in their squad for the upcoming fifth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Having had the West Indian as a replacement in IPL 4, RCB had the first right of refusal for him but the Jamaican, the most destructive batsman in the league last year, has had franchises line up for him.
Gayle was on a one-year contract with the Vijay Mallya-owned RCB. He had not been picked at the last auction because of a lack of clarity on his availability. However, RCB mentor Anil Kumble pulled off a coup of sorts by signing him on mid-season and Gayle promptly turned the club's fortunes around.
According to the reports, Gayle's signing was the talking point with a number of franchisees like Mumbai Indians interested in him. If he had come to the auction, his price perhaps would have touched $2 million.
Commenting on Gayle's retention, Sidhartha Mallya, director of Royal Challengers Sports Pvt Ltd, said the franchise was delighted to have his services as a permanent member. "He is one of the best batsmen in the world. His form helped us qualify for the final of the 2011 edition of the tournament. We are confident that with players like him in our side, we will take the extra step this season, and win our maiden IPL title," he said.
Last season Gayle had been signed on for $560,000 and that is the price he will officially continue to get. This, of course, means RCB will go into the auction with that amount deducted from the total purse of $2 million.
Gayle, in a statement released by RCB, said: "I had a great time representing RCB last year. It is a terrific outfit. The players are brilliant. They are complemented by the support staff and administrators, all of whom have gone out of their way to make the players comfortable, and give them the freedom to express themselves on the field. To me, Bangalore has been a home away from home. I wanted to continue playing for them, and it turned out that they were keen to retain my services. I look forward to returning to namma Bangalore soon."
According to the list released by the IPL, England spinner Graeme Swann has the highest base price of $400,000. Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson - who hasn't featured in the IPL so far - is also included in the list at a base price of $300,000. James Anderson too has a base price of $300,000.