Gayle having a gala time in his second coming
Dubai: Shah Rukh Khan's loss is Vijay Mallya's gain.
When Chris Gayle, one of the few consistent performers for Kolkata Knight Riders over the first three seasons of the Indian Premier League, was also ignored during the auctions it raised a few eyebrows.
There were doubts over his availability but once the way was cleared with the dashing opener being dropped by the West Indies for the one-day series against Pakistan, the Mallya-owned Royal Challengers Bangalore lost no time in calling him in.
The Jamaican surveyed familiar turf at Eden Gardens and unleashed such a ruthless attack on the hapless Kolkata bowlers, smashing 102 off 55 balls, that a stiff target of 172 was achieved with ridiculous ease.
He has kept up the tempo ever since with scores of 26 and a breezy 49 off 26 balls against the Pune Warriors on Friday night.
What's more, Gayle has turned out be a lucky mascot for Bangalore, who have won all three matches he has played so far.
They now look like a serious challenger for a title which has eluded them agonisingly in the past.
"I am enjoying each and every game since I came into the team," the former West Indies skipper told the IPL's official website.
"We have won three straight games.
"I am really upbeat with our performance. The team is playing good cricket."
The Bangalore outfit, which already boasted a strong batting line-up with Tillekeratne Dilshan, Virat Kohli, A.B. De Villiers and young Saurabh Tiwary at the top of the order, is now looking simply menacing with the inclusion of Gayle.
"The batting department is doing a wonderful job," said Gayle, full of praise for the consistency of the members of India's World Cup-winning squad.
"It is good to see Virat Kohli, [Tillakaratne] Dilshan and others among the runs.
"Virat has been batting brilliantly and hope he can continue that and get bigger scores for the team."
Asked if the Knight Riders were right to drop Gayle, CEO Venky Mysore told Gulf News: "As per details of players' availability given to all of us by the IPL prior to the auction, West Indian players were not available for most of the season.
"This explains why only one player was bid for."
The inclusion of Gayle has also given skipper Daniel Vettori the option of starting with his off-spin with the new ball. Gayle has experience of bowling in power plays in Twenty20 cricket as well as one-day internationals for his country.
He has the ability to keep things tight with his tidy length and on Friday showed his worth by picking up the wicket of Mithun Manhas during the win over Pune.