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Chris Gayle: The IPL’s Most-Important Overseas Player in its History?

In the world of cricket, few names are as well-known as Chris Gayle. The Jamaican-born all-rounder captained the West Indies’ Test team between 2007 and 2010 in showcasing his talents to the world at international level. For all of the Universe Boss’ success with his country, Gayle made the switch to the Indian Premier League for the tournament’s opening campaign in 2008 with the Kolkata Knight Riders. For the past nine years, the 41-year-old has been a staple of the IPL. So, let’s take a look at whether Gayle-Force is the most-important overseas player in IPL history.

Arguably the Greatest T20 Player Ever

Throughout his top-level career, Gayle has established himself as the highest-scoring batsman at domestic 20-over cricket. According to statistics from ESPN Cricinfo, as of October 19th, he has 13,373 T20 runs to his name. By comparison, Kieron Pollard is second on the list with 10,415, albeit with a one-year shorter career to date. In that time, the former West Indies captain has hit 986 sixes and 22 centuries.

Regarding IPL records, few players compete with the West Indies international. During his six-year stint with Royal Challengers Bangalore, he became the first batsman in the competition’s history to score a century only through boundaries in three separate IPL innings. In 2012, the now 41-year-old fired seven sixes and 15 maximums as he recorded 128 runs in 62 deliveries, as per Sportskeeda.

Despite his age, Gayle continues to be a leading figure in India’s globally-watched domestic tournament. On his return from a stomach bug in the 2020 edition against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Gayle-Force hit 53 from 45 balls as he fired Kings XI Punjab to victory over his former team.

Helping to Take the Competition to New Heights

Perhaps the biggest compliment that can be paid to Gayle relates to how he’s been a pivotal player in the IPL’s success. While, of course, the popularity of cricket in India provided the foundations for the event’s success, overseas players have enabled the competition to reach global audiences through a shared love of cricket. Following the opening match of the 2020 IPL season between Chennai Super Kings and the Mumbai Indians, the IPL achieved its biggest-ever audience with 200 million viewers.

Regarded as the world’s most famous T20 tournament in the world of cricket, the growth of the IPL is evident from its emergence at sports betting platforms. Betting Guru – which is a review platform – lists a number of operators that cover various IPL markets. As you can see if you click here for more info about the bonus-offering platforms that are available, many of them offer sign-up promotions that can be used across various IPL cricket offerings, including the coin toss, most sixes, match winners, and much more.

Chris Gayle.

Chris Gayle. Photo courtesy of Dun.can from Leicestershire, UK/Wikipedia.org.

A Legacy that Will Live Long in the Memory

While it remains to be seen how much longer the Universe Boss will continue to feature in the IPL, he’ll be able to walk away having established himself as the competition’s best-ever overseas batsman. His run-scoring record speaks volumes about his natural talent, which has been pivotal in growing the tournament’s viewership figures.

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