‘How Long Can Punjab Kings Keep Playing Chris Gayle if he is not Firing?’ – Former India Pacer Asks Pertinent Question
Chris Gayle started the season on an impressive note, hitting 40 off 28 as Punjab Kings won their first match of IPL 2021. However, since then he has managed a total of 36 in the next three innings, a run that has also seen PBKS succumbing to three straight defeats and consequently, they find themselves at the bottom of the pile.
Gayle, 41, has the capability of pulverizing bowlers and his big-hitting skills are stuff of legends. However, with age catching up with the Jamaican, those instances have become a rarity. And that’s what concerns former India pacer Ajit Agarkar who wonders how long will captain KL Rahul persist with him in the playing XI before looking for other options.
“I don’t know, he (Gayle) started well,” Agarkar said on ESPNcricinfo. “He got 40 in the first game. The challenge with Chris Gayle is that he did not play the first few games last season and then came back and he was as good as ever. So I can understand it is a difficult decision to sit him out.”
“If he is it and when he has done well, you always want to accommodate him. How long can you go on if he is not firing, especially at this stage of his career?” he added.
With the limitation of keeping four overseas players in playing 11, the task becomes even more trickier as to who should be left out. However, PBKS’ other recruit from West Indies Nicholas Pooran hasn’t been firing either.
And the fact that world’s top-ranked T20I batsman Dawid Malan is yet to get a game. “Their problem is that Nicholas Pooran is not scoring run either, who they must have had high hopes from. It’s a tricky one. I don’t know how long they can keep playing Chris Gayle, if he is not getting runs,” said Agarkar.
He added, “But at this stage, do you look at someone like Dawid Malan, who is sitting outside at the moment. But overall, they also have to bat better.”
PBKS lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad by nine wickets after a below par performance with the bat. They next take on defending champions Mumbai Indians on Friday.