Gayle Gone! - Tallawahs Hunt New Star Player
Team manager of the Jamaica Tallawahs Andrew Richardson says that the decision of star batsman Chris Gayle to leave the team for the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots ahead of next season’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 Cricket tournament is similar to basketball star Lebron James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010.
With question marks also surrounding the future of another top Tallawahs player, Andre Russell, Richardson noted that the defending CPL champions would be looking to add another big name to the squad with possible concerns about crowd support given the obvious void that will be left by Gayle’s departure.
It was announced yesterday said Gayle would be moving to the Patriots and Richardson says Gayle’s figures for the Tallawahs in his four seasons with the Jamaican franchise will make it hard for anyone to match his impact.
“It is a statistical fact that all Tallawahs matches that he made over 30 runs in, we have won,” Richardson says.
Despite recent controversies surrounding the power-hitting batsman, including making what were considered to be sexist comments, Richardson added that the Jamaican is still extremely important to any team he plays for, while noting that the towering player also brings a strong sense of leadership and ability to motivate players.
However, Richardson was quick to point out that the move means that other players now have to step up their performances without him.
“Chris is an asset wherever he goes. Whatever team he goes to, it is automatically strengthened. He does put a lot of pressure on the other guys around him to step up as well,” said Richardson.
“We know how dominant he is with the bat and he has been a leader from day one. I don’t know the role he’ll play in St Kitts. I don’t know if he’s going be the captain, I cannot comment on that, but he has made his decision. Chris is my friend, and I respect his decision,” he added.
Richardson noted that although the team will be promoting players from within, Gayle is expected to be replaced with what he described as “another marquee player.”
Gayle has won the CPL title twice with the Tallawahs. The first was in the opening season in 2013 and the second, last summer.
“I am a proud Jamaican and I loved representing the Tallawahs,” said Gayle on Thursday. “I would like to thank the owners and management, who have been brilliant to work with; my team-mates, who always gave me 100 per cent support; and of course, the Jamaican fans who made Sabina Park such a special home ground for me.”
Gayle’s 9,777 Twenty20 runs in his career make him one of the biggest names in the series.