Kohli wields the axe: RCB captain confirms Gayle was dropped and not rested

There was little stopping Virat Kohli on the pitch as a blistering century put the Rising Pune Supergiants to the sword in Bengaluru on Saturday. And it seems things are no different off the pitch as well, where Virat Kohli is clearly the man-in-command in the Royal Challengers Bangalore camp. Kohli's aggression seems to be rubbing off on his captaincy and he's not shy of taking bold calls. It was on display against RPS where everyone was surprised with the absence of Chris Gayle in the starting eleven and Kohli confirmed that he was dropped rather than rested.

Royal Challengers of Bangalore's Chris Gayle. AFP

Royal Challengers of Bangalore's Chris Gayle. AFP

Chris Gayle had been away from the RCB camp after he went back to Jamaica because of the birth of his first child, before returning to Bangalore on 25 April. Gayle has since featured in just one of four RCB's games. KL Rahul who was brought into the side in place of Gayle has been consistent with his performances at the top of the order with scores of 51, 51*, 52 and 38 in his four innings in the side.

It was earlier thought that Gayle's absence in the RCB line-up was down to an injury, but Kohli confirmed that Gayle was dropped and not rested. Kohli didn't want to change the opening partnership with Rahul that was doing well for the team and felt the need to strengthen the middle order. "We felt we needed more solidity in the middle order. Travis (Head) strikes the ball well, KL (Rahul) and I have been opening well. Also, we thought Travis can give us a few overs of offspin if needed," Kohli was quoted saying after the game against Supergiants by ESPNCricinfo

Kohli also clarified that youngster Sarfaraz Khan was kept out of the side on fitness grounds, as Kohli felt that in Twenty 20 format, teams can't afford too many slow players. "The format is fast and you need guys who are fit and can get to the ball quickly to save you five-six runs. Me as captain will go with a player who gives me 120% on the field, and is committed to every ball that he fields." Kohli said.

Sarfaraz who has batted down the order, below No. 5 for RCB, is unlikely to face too many balls to make an impact and hence Kohli has opted for Sachin Baby in his place who offers RCB much more on the field. RCB are languishing second from the bottom, Kohli has been doing his bit with the bat but the others need to up the ante big time going forward.

Updated Date: May 10, 2016 09:20 AM

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