Former KXIP mentor Virender Sehwag has urged the franchise to allow Chris Gayle to open the innings alongside Mayank Agarwal, with them slotting KL Rahul at No.3. Sehwag has been highly vocal about the Windies opener being part of the playing XI, stating his stats against RCB as support.
After Royal Challengers Bangalore released the southpaw Chris Gayle in 2017, the Kings XI Punjab side were quick to acquire the opener in the 2018 IPL Auction. Since 2018, he has played 24 games for the Punjab-based franchise, scoring 828 runs in the two seasons, nearly at an average of 40.85. However, in the early half of the 2020 season, the franchise opted to pair the Indian duo of KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal at the top of the order, in a newly-formed opening partnership for the men in Red and Silver.
The duo have scored 724 runs, establishing themselves as the best opening pair in this year’s combination, with them accounting for most of their runs. However, with the middle-order not yet stepping up and their inconsistent show from the bowlers, Punjab have found themselves at the bottom of the table. With Chris Gayle now available for selection, former KXIP player Virender Sehwag urged the franchise to open with the West Indian and Mayank Agarwal. The two have opened the innings during their time with RCB.
"Note that Gayle's record against Bangalore is impeccable. An average of 54, and his strike rate is known to all bowlers. So let Gayle open with the Serious Man Mayank (Agarwal), and KL can come in at No.3 to maintain the balance of the team," Sehwag said on his YouTube show 'Viru ki Baithak'.
Earlier in the week, the southpaw was at the hospital, after being admitted due to an unspecified illness. While now he is set to return against RCB, an opponent that he has got some success in the past, with an average of 54. If Gayle does get promoted to the top of the order, KL Rahul would slot himself at No.3, a position that he has previously played in the Indian colours.
"News is that Chris Gayle is back after chilling in the hospital. The youngsters weren't able to make a dent, now bring Gayle on!," Sehwag added.