West Indies batting star Chris Gayle remains very much a wanted man in Nepal as the country mulls the possibility of a new date for the Everest Premier League (EPL).

The 40-year-old left-handed ball beater was expected to be the tournament’s biggest star, but things were put on hold due to the effects of the global coronavirus pandemic.  The organisers of the competition are yet to determine the best date for a possible restart but insist the securing the services of Gayle and other overseas players remain very much on the cards.

 “Of course the availability dates for Chris Gayle and other foreign players shall be considered, and shall be put on priority,” said Aamir Akhtar, the league’s managing director.

“We would love to have him in EPL if everything works out. He has a huge fan following in Nepal.”

In January Gayle announced he had signed for Pokhara Rhinos for the fourth season of the Twenty20 competition in Kathmandu.  The West Indian was heading an impressive list of overseas players bound for the competition, with the likes of Mohammed Shahzad, Paul Stirling , Kevin O’Brien, Upul Tharanga and Corey Anderson all due to feature.

The tournament was postponed shortly before its scheduled March 14 start date because of the situation surrounding Covid-19.

 

The Everest Premier League (EPL), which was expected to see the likes of West Indies star Chris Gayle, has been postponed over fears of spreading the coronavirus.

The tournament, which was slated to be held from March 14-28 at TU Cricket Ground, in Nepal, became just the latest in a number of sporting events to disrupted by the global pandemic.  The decision comes on the heels of the National Sports Council (NSC)’s decision to halt all the sports-related activities in view of the fast-spreading coronavirus.

The NSC’s decision came on the heels of the government instituting a ban on holding mass meetings and gatherings. 

The 40-year-old Gayle was set to be among a host of other stars booked for the tournament.  The list also included retired West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Smith.  Gayle was slated to represent the Pokhara Rhinos with Smith drafted by the Bhairahawa Gladiators.

Veteran Windies batsman and T20 star Chris Gayle is expected to ply his trade in the upcoming Everest Premier League (EPL) in Nepal, in March.

The 40-year-old Gayle will join a host of other stars for the tournament.  The list will include retired West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Smith.  Gayle is slated to represent the Pokhara Rhinos with Smith suiting up for the Bhairahawa Gladiators.

The talented Gayle is considered one of the game’s best T20 players and holds the record for the most runs ever scored in the format with 12,808.  Gayle is also the only player to score more than 7 T20 centuries.  The left-handed runs machine has slowed down in recent years but recently indicated that he wanted to play the sport for as long as possible.  The self-proclaimed ‘Universe Boss’ has promised fireworks in Nepal.

"Nepal get ready for the Gayle storm. It is gonna be dashing. See you soon Nepal," he said in a video message on his Twitter account.

EPL managing director Aamir Akhtar revealed it took months of negotiations to persuade Gayle to play in the Himalayan nation.

"The league had to mature and earn a certain reputation in the international market so someone like Chris Gayle would be ready to play," Akhtar said.

"All the hard work from the last three years has actually convinced him that this is a clean, reputable league, followed by passionate cricket lovers.”

Retired Windies batsman Dwayne Smith is expected to head to Asia for the upcoming Everest Premier League where he will represent the Bhairahawa Gladiators.

The much-travelled power-hitter will bring plenty of experience to the Napal-based franchise as the tournament head into its fourth edition.

 The 36-year-old Smith, a former Windies batting all-rounder who made 255 appearances for the regional team, has played for over 14 T20 franchises.  He most recently appeared for the Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).  Smith currently averages 26.23 and has played 337 matches.

The signing of the West Indian veteran proved a source of excitement for Gladiators captain Sharad Vesawkar.

"I still can’t believe that the powerhouse of West Indies Cricket and IPL for a long time, Dwayne Smith will be playing under me in the upcoming season of EPL,” Vesawkar said.

“This will do a world of good to the team’s top order and also serve as an exciting opportunity to all the players especially the young ones to observe how the greats go about their game.”

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