Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) captain, KL Rahul has said that the decision of excluding a “match-winner” like Chris Gayle was difficult for them. The captain also said that Gayle is getting fitter and stronger each day and will be playing a crucial role in upcoming games. KXIP has so far played two matches in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) and witnessed a defeat and win in the first and second matches respectively.
Talking about Gayle during a chat with InsideSport, Rahul said, “Chris Gayle has been the biggest match-winner in T20 cricket and to not play a match-winner like Chris is a very hard decision for us. The way he has come back after lockdown, the way he is batting, he is getting fitter and stronger by the day. He is striking the ball really well and some point in the tournament he will have a huge role to play.”
Under the captaincy of Rahul. KXIP witnessed a loss in a Super Over against Delhi Capitals (DC) but made a scintillating comeback in the league with a massive 97-run win against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Thursday. Rahul played an unbeaten knock of 132 runs off 69 balls as he helped his side post a huge target of 207 for RCB. Eventually, they bundled out the RCB for a score of 109 runs.
Rahul also backed youngsters in the team saying that the young guns will play a “big role” for KXIP in this season.
KXIP captain explained, “The bowling attack is looking really good. We have got a good balance of young players and some experienced bowlers like Mohammed Shami who has been a part of the franchise for a couple of seasons. He has started really well and also, someone like Sheldon Cottrell who is playing his first IPL but has a lot of international experience.”
He further added, “This is what we really wanted in our franchise, that is a left-arm seamer who brings in a different skill. We have Chris Jordan, Jimmy Neesham as an all-rounder, and Maxwell who can bowl a bit. Having all-rounders makes a lot of difference for the team. We have some youngsters who are really exciting and you will see that they will play a big role for us during the season.”