RCB ex-owner Vijay Mallya meets team's former opener Chris Gayle

In a picture recently posted to his official Twitter account, former Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) owner Vijay Mallya poses with West Indies legend Chris "Universe Boss" Gayle. RCB acquired the former Windies captain in 2011, and he played for the franchise until 2017.

Social media was abuzz with a photo of Mallya holding his former protégé Gayle.

"Great to catch up with my good friend Christopher Henry Gayle @henrygayle, the Universe Boss. Super friendship since I recruited him for RCB. Best acquisition of a player ever," Mallya wrote on Twitter.

Gayle signed with RCB, which liquor baron Mallya owned back then. Along with former South Africa batsman AB de Villiers, the West Indies opener has been inducted into RCB's Hall of Fame for his outstanding performance in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Gayle withdrew from IPL 2022

After joining RCB in 2011, Gayle played for the franchise until 2017. Averaging 43.29 and striking out at 154.40, he dominated the league with 3,420 runs in 91 games, including 21 fifties and five centuries. While playing for RCB, he also hit a record-breaking 175 not-out, the highest individual score in tournament history.

Against the Pune Warriors in Bengaluru in 2013, he smashed an unbeaten 175 off 66 balls. In the Indian T20 league, it remains the highest individual score with 13 fours and 17 sixes. In addition, the 42-year-old set records for most sixes (357), most centuries (six) and fastest hundred (30 balls) in the IPL.

Gayle decided not to participate in the IPL 2022 despite being one of its biggest stars in the Indian T20 league, claiming unfair treatment in recent years despite his achievements. During IPL 2021, the left-hander appeared in ten matches for Punjab Kings and scored 193 runs at a strike rate of 125.32. Prior to that, he had tallied 288 runs at a strike rate of 137.14 in seven games.

"For the last couple of years, the way the IPL went about, I felt like I wasn't treated properly," said Gayle to mirror.co.uk.

"So I thought 'okay, you (Gayle) didn't get the respect you deserved after you did so much for the sport and IPL'. So I said, 'okay, that's it, I'm not going to bother to enter the draft', so I left it as it is. There is always going to be life after cricket, so I'm just trying to adapt to normality."

Overall, he has appeared in 142 IPL matches, scoring 4,965 runs at a strike rate of 148.96.

Mallya controversy

In 2019, the British judiciary ordered the chairman of the now-closed Kingfisher Airlines Mallya extradited to India. A treaty on extradition between India and the UK was signed in 1992. Following ratification, it has been in force ever since. As of yet, only two people have been returned to India, one of them voluntarily.

Mallya faces fraud and money laundering charges in India and is currently on bail in the UK, awaiting the conclusion of a confidential legal process. Mallya opted to challenge the extradition order in British courts despite the UK government ordering his extradition to India in February 2019. There is a report that he relies on an asylum application in the UK.

Gian Chacko

Sports enthusiast with love for cricket, football and sports in general. Holds 10+ years of following and writing about sports and lately also betting.