Quite a few eyebrows were raised when Chris Gayle, the only man to have scored more than 10,000 T20 runs, went unsold during Day 1 of the mega Indian Premier League (IPL) auction on Saturday, January 28.
Also read: Full list of players sold at two-day auction
However, it was perceived that the franchises did not want to splash out on the West indies star, who maintains the reputation of a single-handed match winner despite not performing to the best of his abilities in the last two seasons of the cash-rich league in India.
As his name came up for bidding for the second on Day 2, not many expected the franchises to snub him yet again, but they did. Reactions poured in on social media as it was believed that Gayle would not be part of IPL for the first time in the league's history.
Some ardent Gayle fans even quoted a similar auction snub in 2011 and the way he demolished bowling attacks in the fourth season of IPL after being brought in as injury-replacement for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
However, as the auction was heading towards a close, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) bid for Gayle when the latter's name came up for the third time during the two-day auction. The Preity Zinta co-owned franchise unanimously secured the services at the player's base price of Rs 2 crore of the T20 legend as the entire auction room applauded the purchase.
Fans and experts from the cricket fraternity reacted to Gayle's near miss at the IPL auction. IBTimes India has compiled a few reactions. Check it out here.
Ah, IPL back in the universe. The boss is back in the IPL. That was close @henrygayle— Sambit Bal (@sambitbal) January 28, 2018
Chris Gayle to Kings XI at the base price of 2C. OMG!! What an absolute steal!! Back up opener for Finch? Viru Pa will love Gayle. #IPLAuction— Srini Mama ? (@SriniMama16) January 28, 2018
Masterstroke from KXIP in having Chris Gayle in their team.#IPLAuction— Umang Pabari (@UPStatsman) January 28, 2018
Tiger abhi jinda hai Chris Gayle— Dil say (@SanklechaD) January 28, 2018
@lionsdenkxip Congrats on picking up @henrygayle ? He will show other teams which underestimated him who he is ? IPL is not complete without him. Would have loved it if CSK had picked him #IPLAuction #GayleStorm— Siddharth (@ssid07) January 28, 2018
Notably, Gayle was not retained by RCB as the Bangalore-based franchise decided to opt for Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Sarfaraz Khan over the swashbuckling opener, who has been a fan favourite at the Chinnaswamy Stadium ever since he joined the club in 2011.
Gayle's form at the RCB had diminished over the years and it hit a new low last year when he managed only 200 runs at a below-par average of 22.22. The left-hander was even dropped by the team for a few matches during the tournament.
Gayle though seemed to hit peak form again when he smashed a couple of centuries during the final stages of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), including an unbeaten 146 in the title match. However, he struggled to get going in the recently-concluded limited-over series against New Zealand.