Gayle Gone! - Tallawahs Hunt New Star Player

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL - - Ja­maica Gleaner

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.

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