Has Chris Gayle Ruined Royal Challengers Bangalore's IPL 7 Campaign?

Antoinette MullerFeatured ColumnistMay 20, 2014

Chris Gayle of Royal Challengers Bangalore raises his bat after scoring a century during their IPL cricket match against Delhi Daredevils, in New Delhi, India, Thursday, May 17, 2012. (AP Photo/ Saurabh Das)
Saurabh Das/Associated Press

Chris Gayle has made a pretty good career of being really good at Twenty20 cricket.

He has stunned and amazed crowds all over the world in a number of different leagues. He has the reputation of being one of the most destructive batsmen in world cricket.

Or should that rather be that he had that reputation?

Gayle has had a seriously tough time in the 2014 edition of the Indian Premier League. His highest score thus far is just 46 and that came off a rather sluggish 50 balls.

In eight games, he has scored just 190 runs at an average of 23.75. More strikingly, though, is that those runs have come at an average strike-rate of 108.57, well below his overall T20 average SR of 147.89. 

A cursory glance at Twitter reveals that he has caused much outrage amongst some of the fans of Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Their outrage is not unfounded. As an opener, Gayle has not had an impact this year. Openers need to be dependable and able to attack right from the get-go, especially players such as Gayle. While everybody loses form from time to time, big-name players are expected always to be at the top of their game. 

Some will argue that if Gayle was any other ordinary player, he would have been dropped by now.

Instead, RCB have persisted with him in the hope that he might give them that one big innings. With so many games in the IPL, it is understandable that team management might want to give him some time.

With the chances of making the play-offs becoming increasingly difficult, maybe Gayle should have been dropped.

RCB might feel as if though there are no other recognised "hitters" in the team, hence the logic in sticking with Gayle. But Gayle was never in touch to begin with. He missed the first few games at the start of the competition through injury. Perhaps he had just never fully recovered.

He was stretchered off the field when the West Indies played India last year. By the look of this photo, he was in serious pain. That's the kind of thing that happens when you tear your hamstring.

What has made matters worse is the way in which Gayle keeps on getting out. Most dismissals have been rather tame and unnecessary. They have been the type of dismissals a man low on batting confidence. 

Even when he has managed to get a start, Gayle has gotten out needlessly. It's something which has irked fans even more, and some have accused him of only "chasing money."

Gayle certainly has not succeeded in his role as attacking opener, but to lay the blame of RCB's struggles squarely at his feet is somewhat unfounded.

Recovering from injury, returning to cricket after a long lay-off and other factors have all contributed to his poor form.

As a team, RCB have struggled, too. Gayle might not be having the best season, but he certainly isn't the sole reason for his team's faltering campaign.