Chris Gayle not playing: Kings XI Punjab have left out the highest run-scorer in T20s for their IPL 2020 season opener.
During the second match of the ongoing 13th season of the Indian Premier League between Delhi Capitals and Kings XI Punjab in Dubai, Kings XI Punjab captain Lokesh Rahul won the toss and elected to field in his first IPL match as captain.
Both Rahul and Delhi Capitals captain Shreyas Iyer have included a couple of overseas fast bowlers instead of overseas spinners and T20 specialists in Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Sandeep Lamichhane. The development throws light on the presence of extra grass on the surface at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
“We will bowl first. Fresh wicket. Don’t really know what to expect. I’m confident and so is the entire team, great opportunity to go out and play some cricket. Staying indoors was difficult, but it also gave us time to think about our strategy. [Glenn] Maxwell, [Nicholas] Pooran, [Chris] Jordan and [Sheldon] Cottrell are our four overseas players,” Rahul said during the toss.
Iyer said, “We would have bowled first as well. I have learnt to take some responsibility, with the likes of [head coach, Ricky] Ponting and [former mentor, Sourav] Ganguly, it makes my task a bit easier. Looking forward to a great season – We have plenty of options and it was difficult settling for the best XI.”
Why is Chris Gayle not playing today’s match vs Delhi Capitals?
Unbeaten at this venue in the five matches that they’ve played so far, Punjab have handed debut to England’s Chris Jordan, West Indies’ Sheldon Cottrell and rookie Indian spinner Ravi Bishnoi.
Rahul wins toss and chooses to bowl first. No surprise. Chris Gayle not in Kings playing XI. No surprise either. Rahane not in the Delhi line-up. Not such a surprise given their batting strength. Neither Mujeeb nor Lamichane taking the field for Punjab. Big surprise
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) September 20, 2020
On the other hand, former KXIP captain Ravichandran Ashwin, former KXIP bowler Mohit Sharma, West Indies’ Shimron Hetmyer, Australia’s Marcus Stoinis and South Africa’s Anrich Nortje will be playing their first match for Delhi tonight.
Speaking about Universe Boss Chris Gayle, he has failed to find a spot in the Playing XI despite finishing as Punjab’s second highest run-scorer last season. At the time of writing this article, there hasn’t been any official confirmation on Gayle’s absence. Even Rahul wasn’t asked about the experienced campaigner at the toss.
Given the restriction on the number of overseas players, Gayle might have to warm the bench in the next few matches as well. Considering Nicholas Pooran’s potential, Punjab might be tempted towards giving him a longer run.