Chris Gayle is all set to return to KingsXI Punjab squad in today’s game against Royals Challengers Bangalore.
Gayle had hinted on Tuesday that he may get his first IPL game of the season against Royals Challengers Bangalore on Thursday, having recovered from a bout of food poisoning.
Head coach Anil Kumble had said that the team could not play Gayle against Sunrisers Hyderabad last week because he was down with food poisoning.
The 41-year-old also missed the following game against KKR on Saturday.
After posting a photo on social media from his hospital bed, KXIP posted a video of the ‘Universe Boss’ on its twitter handle on Tuesday, where the West Indian displayed optimism despite his team lying at the bottom of the points table with just one win from seven games.
“To all the fans out there, the wait is over. The Universe Boss is back. I know you all have been waiting for such a long time, the wait is over unless something dramatic happens to the Universe Boss again, which I hope not,” Gayle said in the short video.
“You know it is still possible. I know we are at the bottom of the table but it is still possible. Seven games to go and we believe we can win all seven, it is still possible.
“I urge each and everyone of the guys to still have the self-belief, like I said the only way we can go is up, it is only up from here. So gonna do it and we can do it,” he added.
RCB vs KXIP Live : Gayle to return, who goes out ?
Gayle announced he has recovered from his stomach bug and given the state of Punjab’s campaign and Sharjah serving a pitch most conducive for top-order players, the time is ripe for KXIP to introduce one of the stalwarts of the tournament. That means Mujeeb Ur Rahman is likely to miss out. Gayle’s inclusion will also mean one of Pooran or Rahul will have to take back the ‘keeping gloves from Prabhsimran Singh.
There is a case for using James Neesham and his cutters on this track with two-paced tendencies. But that change will have to come at the expense of Glenn Maxwell, whose offspinners could provide a release.
Probable XI:Chris Gayle, KL Rahul (c), Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Glenn Maxwell/James Neesham, Mandeep Singh, Chris Jordan, Mohammed Shami, Murugan Ashwin/K Gowtham, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh
KXIP had earlier posted photos of Gayle returning to the nets on Monday.
“He is fine now and it is likely that he will be playing the game against RCB (on Thursday),” a team source told PTI.
The game is at Sharjah, the smallest among the three venues and ideal for someone like Gayle to go on a six-hitting spree.
After six losses from seven games, KXIP need to produce something special in the second half of the tournament to have any chances of making the play-offs