Chris Gayle, the West Indies opener, has joined the Royal Challengers Bangalore squad for the 2011 season as a replacement for injured Dirk Nannes, Vijay Mallya, the owner of the franchise has confirmed. The development means that Gayle will not be available for the home limited-overs and Test series against Pakistan, which begins on Thursday.
"It's official now. The explosive Chris Gayle is now a part of the RCB squad after receiving clearance from the WICB," Mallya said on Twitter.
Gayle, along with Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard, had refused the West Indies board's central contracts so that he would be free to pursue his Twenty20 interests in the IPL. In a media release on April 4 regarding the participation of West Indies players in the IPL, WICB chief executive Ernest Hilaire had this to say about Gayle: "With Chris Gayle it has not been a productive discussion and therefore it is a little more difficult for me to make any pronouncements as it relates to Chris. But we are open to discussing with players what their plans and objectives are and how best we can accommodate them within the commitment that they must also play for country and to represent West Indies cricket."
In January, Gayle, who scored 463 at a strike-rate of 141.59 for Kolkata Knight Riders in the previous three IPL seasons, surprisingly went unsold at the player auction. His base price of $400,000 found no bidders over concerns that he would not be available for much of IPL 2011 because of international commitments.
He has since been left out of West Indies' ODI squad (for the first two matches) that will take on Pakistan from April 23, with the WICB deciding to focus on grooming youngsters after the quarter-final exit from the World Cup.
Nannes, who was injured during Bangalore's second match of the league, was bought for $650,000 at the auction. IPL rules prevent franchises from signing replacement players at a higher value than the player they are replacing. Bangalore made a poor start to the IPL, losing three of their first four matches, and are languishing at the bottom of the table.