Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, Bangalore, IPL 2018
Chris Gayle (left) and Virat Kohli © AFP

Chris Gayle has been the best batsman in Indian T20 League history. Period. Having scored 3,626 runs at 41.20, Gayle’s strike-rate reads 151.2 in the tournament. It is more impressive if you read his numbers for Bangalore. Gayle has amassed 3,163 for the franchise at 43.32 at a strike rate of 153. Even Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers’ numbers look weary in contrast. Gayle, 38, had a poor 2017 edition and Bangalore decided not to retain their superstar.

On the eve of Bangalore’s tournament opener against Kolkata at Eden Gardens, Kohli revealed why the side decided to move on from Gayle and part of it is the team wanted to do away with heavy reliance on individuals.

“Taking nothing away from Chris, we decided to go in with the balance that can sustain in the next three years. We did not want to be relying on 2-3 people all the time and those were few reasons behind it,” said Kohli.

Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2018, preview: Virat Kohli and men’s best chance for title shot
Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2018, preview: Virat Kohli and men’s best chance for title shot

Gayle, who played for Kolkata in the first three seasons, was picked late in the auction by Punjab. He was not picked for Punjab in their first match against Delhi at Mohali.

‘It was bizarre’

The last time Bangalore played at Kolkata, they were shot out for the tournament’s lowest score of 49. Kohli said that the side put it behind them immediately after the game.

“We don’t have bad records here. It was just a one off game we had here. It was bizarre, very rarely you get out for 49 with that kind of batting,” Kohli further added.