Friday 27 November, 2020

Jamaica Tallawahs hit back at Chris Gayle's social media comments

Chris Gayle (2nd left) celebrates with his Jamaica Tallawahs teammates during a Caribbean Premier League game in 2019.

Chris Gayle (2nd left) celebrates with his Jamaica Tallawahs teammates during a Caribbean Premier League game in 2019.

Caribbean Premier League (CPL) cricket franchise Jamaica Tallawahs said on Wednesday it was disappointed with comments made by Jamaica and West Indies opener Chris Gayle following his exit from the team.

Gayle, the leading T20 run-scorer of all time as well as the man with the most centuries in the format, will represent St Lucia Zouks in the 2020 CPL season after Jamaica Tallawahs chose not to retain him last week.

A few days following that development, Gayle, who is also the leading CPL run-scorer of all time, singled out former West Indies team-mate Ramnaresh Sarwan, the assistant coach of the franchise, for playing a "big part" in Jamaica Tallawahs releasing him from their CPL set-up.

In an outburst, released in a personal video on YouTube on Monday, Gayle also blamed Tallawahs' chief executive officer Jeff Miller and owner Krish Persaud for "playing a game" with him and never keeping him in the loop about the team's plans.

However, the Tallawahs hit back through a press release issued on Wednesday. 

"The ownership and management of the Jamaica Tallawahs were disappointed to see the comments made by Mr Christopher Gayle about his departure from the Tallawahs, as we would much rather have had these discussions in private," said the press release.

It further added that "Mr Gayle gave several reasons for the decision that was made not to retain him in the Tallawahs. However, the truth is that this decision was made collectively by the ownership and management team, which did not include Mr Ramnaresh Sarwan and based purely on business and cricketing reasoning."

Gayle called Sarwan a 'snake' and 'worse than coronavirus'.

“Sarwan, you are worse than the coronavirus right now,” Gayle said in the video where he ripped apart the former West Indies skipper.

Gayle played for the Tallawahs in the first four CPL seasons, before spending the next two years with St Kitts and Nevis Patriots. He re-joined the Tallawahs last season and made 116 in his second game, but ended the season with 243 runs in 10 innings as the franchise finished bottom of the table.

Gayle further said the Tallawahs' owner was "persuaded" to release him. According to Gayle, he had been in Guyana recently after being invited by a local politician who was a rival of the party Persaud supported.

"Let me tell you why the Tallawahs didn't really retain me now: this is all politics, alright. He [Persaud] has been persuaded to get rid of Chris Gayle, he's not that type of person who will say 'let's get rid of Gayle'. You may say it's nothing to do with politics, but it's a big thing in Guyana. I am not into politics, you used politics against me to get me out of my own franchise. Kris Persaud, no love lost. You still have my respect, if I see you on street, still call you, franchise cricket is business at the end of the day."

The Tallawahs rubbished Gayle's reasoning saying "further, the ownership and management of the Tallawahs have no political affiliation with any political organisation in any country of the Caribbean. The Tallawahs had a very disappointing season in CPL 2019 where the team finished last in the tournament.

"The ownership and management team exercised its rights in the selection of players for CPL 2020 for the betterment of the team. The ownership and management of the Tallawahs will not be making any further comments on this matter as we are focusing on building the team for the future."

The 2020 CPL season is currently set for August 19 to September 26, but organisers are keeping an eye on the COVID-19 pandemic and liaising with medical advisors and governments to determine if play will go ahead.

Chief operations officer, Pete Russell, has said there is a possibility the tournament could be played without international players and using only a few stadiums as venues to mitigate against widespread contact.

The number of confirmed infections worldwide has risen to over 3 million and the confirmed death toll has topped 211,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

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