Former Indian seamer Ajit Agarkar has discussed Chris Gayle’s lack of runs and rustiness in the ongoing edition of IPL. Punjab Kings have accommodated Chris Gayle at number three instead of opening the innings, with the pair of Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul finding success at the top. Ajit Agarkar remains uncertain as to how long the management would persist with the southpaw, given candidates are waiting in the wings.
While Chris Gayle has been one of the best batsmen in IPL history started the ongoing tournament promisingly by making 40 against the Rajasthan Royals, his form has looked far from usual. The next three games, including the latest against SunRisers Hyderabad, has seen him make only 36 runs, with a high score of 15. With Punjab Kings’ opening pair not faring consistently either, there remains a reliance on the former West Indian captain to get things moving by playing some big shots.
Ajit Agarkar conceded that Chris Gayle began well and has not been performing well ever since. The former India pace spearhead underlined that Gayle’s challenge has been to sit out of most of the tournament last year and still showcased some good hitting by playing only seven matches. Agarkar understands that it might be hard to leave the Jamaican out of the line-up; however, he remains uncertain as to how long the management would persist with him, mainly at the twilight of his career.
“I don’t know; he started well as he got a 40 in the first game against Rajasthan Royals and since then he has gotten out. I think the challenge for someone like Chris Gayle is he did not play the majority of the tournament last year and towards the end came and seemed to be in as good as a form as he had been in his career. I can understand it’s a difficult decision to leave someone like him out when he has done well and if he is fit, you always want to accommodate him. How long you can go on if he is not firing, I’m not so certain, specially at this stage of his career,” Agarkar told ESPN Cricinfo.
At the moment, their problem is Nicholas Pooran is not scoring runs either: Ajit Agarkar
Ajit Agarkar highlighted that Nicholas Pooran not being amongst the runs is also hurting the Punjab Kings; hence, it’s tricky as to how long could Gayle survive without scoring significantly. The 43-year old conceded that the Jamaican remains an automatic selection if he is fit and in form. The Mumbai-born former cricketer reminded that Dawid Malan is also waiting in the wings; however, Agarkar feels that Punjab Kings have to bat better collectively.
“At the moment, their problem is Nicholas Pooran is not scoring runs either, who they must have had high hopes of, coming into this season. So, it’s a very tricky one. I’m not sure how long they can keep playing Chris Gayle if he is not getting runs. If he is getting runs, of course, like what he did in the UAE, it’s a no brainer. Do you then look at someone like Dawid Malan, who is sitting out and is currently playing for his national side? Those are the questions they have to answer but they have to also bat better,” he added.