Sammy keen to work with Gayle as Zouks retain 8 players for 2020 CPL
Explosive Jamaica and west Indies opener Chris Gayle.
Former West Indies captain Daren Sammy, who returns as captain of St Lucia Zouks, believes Chris Gayle will be focussed and motivated for the 2020 season.
Allrounder Sammy took over the West Indies captain in October 2010 when Gayle was axed in a big shake-up ahead of a three-Test tour of Sri Lanka.
“I don’t have to tell you about Chris Gayle. He is the most successful T20 batsman in the world and I'm happy to be playing with him. I think he will be focused and motivated for the season," said Sammy after Zouks had chosen to retain or sign eight Caribbean players ahead of the CPL draft.
Twenty20 record-breaker Gayle will be looking to prove a point this season after the 40-year-old became Zouks’ marquee player, following his release from his native Jamaica Tallawahs late last month.
Following his release from the Tallawahs, Gayle had expressed his dismay at the franchise releasing him without having informed him in an outburst on his official YouTube channel last month.
In a three-part video, Gayle singled out the Tallawahs chief executive Jeff Miller and owner Krish Persaud for "playing a game". He blamed his former West Indies team-mate Ramnaresh Sarwan, who is Tallawahs' assistant coach, for his release.
In Part 2 of the video, 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 told the Guyanese he was "no friends" anymore with him.
Sarwan subsequently said the allegations were false and scandalous; while Tallawahs said the decision not to retain the T20 batting star did not include Sarwan and was “based purely on business and cricketing reasoning”.
The main reason behind Gayle's outburst was that he had rejoined the Tallawahs in 2019 on a three-year contract with the intention of finishing his career in his home country.
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.
Andre Fletcher was also retained by Zouks and Sammy said, "he has been with us since the inception of the league. He carries the true spirit of St Lucia Zouks, and he is a great entertainer on the field.
The Caribbean players retained or signed by Zouks are Chris Gayle (Jamaica), Daren Sammy (Windward Islands), Andre Fletcher (Windward Islands), Kesrick Williams (Windward Islands), Obed McCoy (Windward Islands), Rahkeem Cornwall (Leeward Islands), Kavem Hodge (Windward Islands) and exciting St Lucian batsman Kimani Melius as the emerging player.
This year, teams can retain as many players from their 2019 squads as they wish. They could also transfer players to other teams and sign emerging players.
Sammy further added that “Kesrick Williams is one of the top T20 bowlers over the last few years in International cricket. Rahkeem Cornwall really bosses the powerplay overs and him partnering up with Chris Gayle is going to be something exciting to watch.
“I'm excited about Kimani Melius because he is from St Lucia. He is one of the hardest working youngsters I've ever seen. With the experience of Chris Gayle and Andre Fletcher, he could really benefit from this CPL exposure.
“Obed McCoy is a talented left-arm fast bowler out of St. Vincent. He is a very skillful bowler, can't wait to see him play a full season for the St Lucia Zouks.
"Kavem Hodge is another talented all-rounder we have. He works really hard on his game; he had a pretty good first-class season as well.”
St Lucia Zouks coach, Andy Flower, said: “I’m really looking forward to having two Caribbean legends in our dressing room; Daren Sammy for his outstanding leadership and Chris Gayle for his experience and explosive stroke play. They will be central to our chances of doing well in the tournament.
"Kesrick Williams and Obed McCoy are going to be the mainstays of our seam attack, both operating in very different ways but both extremely effective in this form of the game. I am very excited that we have the youth and potential of the West Indies U19 World Cup captain Kimani Melius with us. A St Lucia native, it is brilliant to have him on board and looking forward to seeing how he progresses when he gets his chance.”
The CPL is scheduled to take place between August 19 and September 26 but the tournament organisers are currently watching the current situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) closely and are liaising with medical advisors and governments. A decision on whether the tournament can proceed as planned, or at a different time, will be made as soon as possible.
The number of confirmed coronavirus infections worldwide has risen to over 4.3 million and the confirmed death toll is at 293,764 according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.