Chris Gayle was ‘ready’ but AB de Villiers played down the chances of a return to Royal Challengers Bangalore colours in IPL 2023 as the two greats were felicitated in Bengaluru for their contribution to the franchise over the years, on Sunday.
In a star-studded Hall of Fame and jersey reveal ceremony at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers were asked about the possibility of returning to play for the franchise in a light-hearted conversation.
The two cricketers were officially inducted into the RCB Hall of Fame on Sunday and were presented with a Medal of Honour each in front of a packed crowd at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. RCB captain Faf du Plessis and former captain Virat Kohli shared the dias with Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers for the ceremony, which also marked the start of RCB’s preparations for IPL 2023.
While Chris Gayle, who is yet to retire from international cricket, joked about a potential return, AB de Villiers was quick to douse the fire.
“Absolutely, I would love that. I am ready,” Gayle said during the RCB Unbox event in Bengaluru.
De Villiers intervened: “I think the team is too good at the moment. We won’t get a chance in the starting XI. We would rather be fans and support the boys to bring the Trophy back home.
“Ee Saala Cup Namde (This year, the trophy is our’s),” De Villiers added.
‘BEST CROWD IN THE WORLD’
Gayle and de Villiers’s jerseys with numbers 333 and 17, respectively, were retired as a mark of respect by RCB on Sunday.
The two cricketers, who had flown in for the event, were greeted by thousands of fans who had turned up to watch RCB’s first training session ahead of IPL 2023.
Recalling their favourite memories from their playing days at RCB, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle thanked the ‘loyal’ fanbase for their support over the years.
“My favourite memory is here, being here at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, being in front of the crowd. It’s the best crowd in the world. Winning games of cricket right here isa wonderful feeling,” de Villiers said.
“To the RCB fans, thank you so much for the support over the years. It’s been phenomenal. I have made quite a few memories, that 175 actually stands out here. I have made so many memories and my 175 stands out,” Gayle added.
AB de Villiers hit 4491 runs, including 2 hundreds, for RCB in 156 matches that spanned between 2011 and 2021. Chris Gayle hit 3163 runs, including 5 hundreds, in 83 matches for RCB between 2011 and 2017.
RCB will open their IPL 2023 campaign at home against Mumbai Indians on April 2.
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