MUMBAI, India, CMC/IANS – Estranged West Indies batsman Chris Gayle inked a new deal yesterday with Bangalore Royal Challengers for the next two seasons of the Indian Premier League.
Gayle was part of the Kolkata Knight Riders for the first three seasons of the lucrative tournament, but he went unsold in last year’s players’ auction.
This proved to be a slice of good fortune for RCB and Gayle. He later joined the franchise as an injury replacement player for Australian left-arm fast bowler Dirk Nannes.
Gayle went on to become the highest scorer in last year’s IPL and won the Orange cap as well. He also played for Royal Challengers in the Champions League Twenty20, leading the side to the final, where they lost to the Mumbai Indians.
“We are delighted to make Chris Gayle a permanent member of our IPL squad,” said Siddhartha Mallya, director of Royal Challengers Sports Pvt Ltd, in a media release.
“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.”
Gayle said he was happy to be back at his home away from home.
“I had a great time representing RCB last year,” he said. “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.”
IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla said Gayle adds a lot of value to the tournament with his explosive batting.
“Chris Gayle is one of those cricketers who was born to excel in all formats of the sport,” he said.
“He was at his destructive best in IPL 2011, and one can safely assume that we will see a lot more fireworks emanate from his blade in the forthcoming IPL seasons.”
Gayle has not played for West Indies since last year’s World Cup on the Asian sub-continent, following a long-running dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board over controversial remakes he made in an interview with a radio station in his native Jamaica.
Meantime, a leading Indian firm announced that Gayle will be brand ambassador for its line of whiskey.
Gayle also signed a deal to be brand ambassador for Whyte & Mackay whiskey of Vijay Mallya’s UB Group, which also owns RCB.
Media reports indicated that Gayle is set to earn US$500,000 under the deal.