x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Parthiv continues to fill Gayle’s big shoes for Bangalore

Indian wicketkeeper-batsman will continue to open the innings for Royal Challengers with the West Indian still nursing his bad back, writes Paul Radley.

Chris Gayle has been the most feared batsman in the Royal Challengers Bangalore line-up since he joined the team in 2011. Indranil Mukherjee / AFP
Chris Gayle has been the most feared batsman in the Royal Challengers Bangalore line-up since he joined the team in 2011. Indranil Mukherjee / AFP

DUBAI // Two wins from two so far in the 2014 Indian Premier League and Chris Gayle has not even got out of bed yet.

No wonder Royal Challengers Bangalore were looking so content at their 2pm training session at the ICC Academy on Wednesday.

Gayle was not in attendance, suggesting his absence may continue on Thursday when they face Kolkata Knight Riders in Sharjah.

The West Indian has been one of a clutch of big name – and big-money – absentees in the competition so far.

Rather than playing cricket, the likes of Gayle and his good friend Kevin Pietersen, another injury victim, have had to pass their time here by trading jokes with other celebrities about David Moyes in cyberspace instead.

The fact Bangalore have thrived without their most prolific opening batsman means they should be in rude health when he finally does reappear, according to Parthiv Patel, their wicketkeeper-opener.

“I don’t think we are peaking too early, this tournament is all about momentum and we just want to win as may games as possible,” Parthiv said.

“Obviously we are a batting-heavy side, but our bowlers have done really well, restricting sides to 140 on a flat wicket.

“Our batting depth showed in the last game and once Chris comes into the team, it will obviously be a great boost for the team.

“He is a very big player for our team.”

Bangalore have shelled out a fortune on recruiting a powerhouse batting line up that includes Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Gayle and AB de Villiers.

Yet after two matches in the UAE it is one of the lesser lights, both in physical stature and celebrity, who is leading the way in their run charts.

Easy-mannered and easy on the eye at the batting crease, Parthiv is averaging 94 so far in the competition – which is one better than even the “Big Show” Glenn Maxwell of Kings XI Punjab has managed. The giants around him have some catching up to do.

“Every player has their own ability, their own strengths and way of playing,” said Parthiv, the former India wicketkeeper.

“I know my strengths, I have made a name for myself in T20 cricket and I know where I can score runs and against which bowler.

“On top of that I back myself to go out and score runs every time I go out to bat.”

pradley@thenational.ae

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