Chris Gayle withdraws from ongoing IPL 2021, cites bubble fatigue
In a major development, Punjab Kings batter Chris Gayle has left the IPL 2021 bio-bubble in order to stay fresh for the T20 World Cup. The Caribbean star informed about the development through a statement on Thursday. Gayle was included in Punjab's XI for the matches against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians respectively. Prior to the IPL, he competed in the Caribbean Premier League.
"I have been a part of the CWI bubble, CPL bubble followed by the IPL bubble, and I wish to mentally recharge and refresh myself," Gayle said in a statement. "I want to refocus on helping the WI in the T20 World Cup and would like to take a break in Dubai. My thanks to the Punjab Kings for giving me the time off."
Anil Kumble, PBKS's Director of Cricket Operations, said he respects Gayle's decision to take a break. "I've played against Chris and have coached him at Punjab Kings and all through the years I've known him he has always been an absolute professional and we as a team respect his decision and desire to prepare himself for the T20 World Cup," said Kumble.
Like Gayle, a number of other cricketers have left the bio-bubbles of late due to bubble fatigue. England all-rounder Ben Stokes, in July, took an indefinite break from cricket "to prioritize his mental well-being". Similarly, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, and David Warner pulled out of The Hundred earlier this year. Several players also withdrew from the IPL for the same reason.
Gayle mustered just 15 runs from two games for PBKS in the UAE leg of IPL 2021. He joined the PBKS bubble straight after competing in the CPL 2021. The 42-year-old won the tournament with the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots. Overall, Gayle has racked up 193 runs from 10 games this season with a best score of 46.
Gayle will be in Dubai before joining his West Indies team-mates ahead of the T20 World Cup. The ICC tournament is set to begin on October 17, which is two days after the IPL final. Meanwhile, West Indies will play their opener on October 23 against England in Dubai. Notably, WI defeated England to win the T20 World Cup in 2016.