IPL news January 20, 2012

Royal Challengers Bangalore retain Chris Gayle

ESPNcricinfo staff

Chris Gayle has been retained by Royal Challengers Bangalore for the next two IPL seasons. The Royal Challengers had first rights to Gayle's services after he represented them as a replacement for Dirk Nannes in the previous year. Though the amount he has been signed for is yet undisclosed, it is to be revealed to the IPL authorities and will be deducted from the Royal Challengers' auction purse.

"We are delighted to make Chris Gayle a permanent member of our IPL squad. 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," Sidhartha Mallya, Director, Royal Challengers Sports Pvt Ltd, said in a release.

"To me, Bangalore has been a home away from home," Gayle said. "I wanted to continue playing for them, and it turned out that they were keen to retain my services."

The IPL trading window closes on Friday, January 20, and the Royal Challengers had the option to either retain Gayle or leave him to be open for auction on February 4. He went unsold at the auction last year and the maximum amount the Royal Challengers could pay him was $650,000, the amount Nannes was bought for. He joined them on a one-year contract and topped the run-charts in the 2011 season. This year, however, he could be bought for a significantly higher amount; the purse each franchise has been allowed is $2 million.

Gayle was in prime form in the IPL last year, playing a crucial role in Royal Challengers' journey to the final. He struck two centuries, three half-centuries, picked up eight wickets - a prize catch for any franchise that had his services for the season to follow. A BCCI official, at the time when Gayle's future was uncertain, told ESPNcricinfo that the Royal Challengers were keen on signing Gayle but would have to shell out a large portion of their purse to convince him. "Bangalore want Gayle because they see the cricketing merit in the decision as he helped them to the final last year," the official had said. "But if they decide to sign a deal with him, they will have to pay big money and if they do that they will be left with nothing much at the auction."

The Mumbai Indians, a richer franchise than the Royal Challengers, were also interested in signing Gayle but Royal Challengers made use of their first rights to his services.