Universe Boss, Chris Gayle has proved to be quite an inclusion in this edition of the IPL 2018 so far.

He has proved to be a sensational bargain for the Kings XI Punjab and has already stamped his authority on the tournament with a century and a couple of half-centuries from four matches.

Kings XI Punjab owner, Ness Wadia revealed the franchise thought they almost lost Gayle, as they were running out of cash. They were left with just Rs 2.1 crores when they bid for Gayle. Luckily, they didn’t get a counter bid and was able to buy his services.

Wadia explained the fact that how lucky the franchise got with the big man from Jamaica.

“We had only Rs 2.1 crore left and if we had bid for Chris earlier (at the auction) and if another team came up with a counter bid, we did not have the money to buy him. Luckily, no other team bid for him and we were more than happy to get third time lucky,” Wadia was quoted as saying by PTI.

Ahead of the tournament, Punjab only retained Axar Patel. They were planning to build a team for the future and in their endeavour, Ravichandran Ashwin was appointed as their skipper. They spent huge bucks on buying new players and building a new set up. Punjab almost ran out of cash and was left with only Rs 10 lakhs at the end of the auctions.

The mentor of Kings XI Punjab, Virender Sehwag had said at the start of the tournament that if Gayle and Yuvraj can win them two games they would think they have recovered Rs 2 crores spent on them.

Gayle has exceeded Virender Sehwag’s expectations. However, Yuvraj has failed to make a mark in the tournament so far. In fact, he was left out of the playing XI in the previous encounter against Sunrisers Hyderabad in favour of Manoj Tiwary.

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Chris Gayle
KL Rahul and Chris Gayle have been instrumental in the success of KXIP. (Photo by: Ron Gaunt / IPL/ SPORTZPICS)

“Yuvi is not among the runs at the moment but we hope that he will bounce back. He is of good value to the franchise and that is why we got him back,” said Wadia referring to Yuvraj who was part of the Kings XI Punjab set up in the first two editions of the tournament.

Besides Gayle, players like Ankit Rajpoot, KL Rahul and Afghan leggie, Mujeeb Zadran have been the star performer for Punjab in this season.

Wadia is pleased with the team combination in this year. Punjab failed to qualify for the playoffs in the last three editions of the tournament.

“We wanted to build a team for the long term. We wanted to spend more money. The franchise wanted an Indian captain and to be honest we wanted Ashwin at any cost. He is a genius and knows what it takes to win (having won IPL at CSK).

“We were very clear that if we spent the money we would get what we were looking for. That was the difference with the old strategy. Bringing an Indian captain also brings in a lot of flexibility,” said Wadia.

He further stated that going for Mujeeb Zadran in the IPL Auctions was very much the idea of skipper Ravichandran Ashwin.

Wadia happy that the tournament was finally making financial sense

Singh
Yuvraj Singh guides the ball to third man. Photo by: Rahul Gulat/ SPORTZPICS for BCCI

Wadia further claimed he was happy that finally, the tournament was making any financial sense.

“Finally, it is making sense (financially) after 10 years. It has been a long wait. The most important thing is when we got into the IPL the focus was on to promote sport. IPL has led to the emergence of cricket leagues around the county. I am so glad about that.  It has given the players a career option. It has led to leagues in other sports too.”

He was further asked to give his opinion on IPL going into the future.

“There have to be more international matches (for the teams), more exposure. If you include the pre-season camp, we get about an eight week period in one year.

“A second tournament or a smaller tournament outside India would be very beneficial for everyone,” he further added.

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