Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), Dr Keith Rowley, is re-assuring his countrymen that the government has taken no undue risks in its decision to host the entire Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

Organisers of the CPL had last month negotiated with the T&T government to host the CPL, usually occurring throughout six countries, solely in the twin-island republic.

The schedule and venues for the CPL have since been released, with the T&T Prime Minister promising a bubble to protect the citizens of T&T.

“Everything that will go on around the CPL will go on in a bubble that does not interact with the national population,” he said.

According to Rowley, all visitors will be screened for COVID-19 before coming to T&T and once they do, they would be subject to all protocols of entry. Once in the country, those visitors are confined to the Hilton Hotel “and that becomes a bubble for them.”

Matches will be played at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba and at the Queen’s Park Oval in St Clair.

Those venues form part of the bubble with Rowley saying, "Then (the players) will go to a venue to play the game where they will not interact with the population. So, therefore, the CPL is a bubble that has nothing to do with what goes on with the population in the country."

The CPL is scheduled for August 18-September 10.

Three Bangladesh players, Mustafizur Rahman, Tamim Iqbal, and Mahmudullah, have declined invitations to the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) because of concerns over COVID-19 and to show loyalty the country’s domestic league.

According to Tamim, the journey to the CPL, which is set for August 18 in Trinidad and Tobago, is long and would keep him away from his family, making it difficult to respond to emergencies.

Due to the COVID-19 there is travel restriction and route to West Indies is very long. Say I make it to the islands but there is an emergency in my family, I will not be able to return easy. I do not want to take that chance,” said Tamim.

There is also the issue of figuring out when Bangladesh’s domestic cricket will restart. The last game was played in March and it is still unknown when a restart is likely but Tamim, in particular, wants to be available when it does.

“The tournament [Dhaka Premier League] is suspended but as you know, we all are waiting for it to resume which can happen any time,” said Tamim.

Mahmudullah and Tamim have played in the CPL before, the former for the Jamaica Tallawahs and the Bangladesh captain for the St Lucia Zouks.

Leeward Islands wicket-keeper batsman Devon Thomas is one of the notable ommissions from this year’s Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), but according to the Antigua-born cricketer, it was expected.

Thomas did not have a fantastic CPL for the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots last year, and says he needs to show improvement even though he feels disappointment.

According to Thomas, who was speaking with the Antigua Observer, his performances over the years matter very little in franchise cricket and what you have done last may count against you.

“Playing for St Kitts, I have been the second leading scorer over the last few years, so I was a bit disappointed but at the end of the day, it’s a franchise and they are coming with a different plan and different owners,” he said.

“Also, last year I got a few starts but I didn’t capitalise on those starts so I have to look back on myself and say I let myself down as well,” he said.

Thomas only scored 180 runs in the CPL last year, even though he had a high-score of 71.

But Thomas isn’t sitting on his laurels. The 30-year-old is already looking at making an impact in next season’s Super50 and four-day competition for the Leeward Islands Hurricanes.

“They [LICB] have given us a programme to work with and I think that it was just last week Friday we did a fitness test, a yoyo test, so I’ve been keeping in good shape. I am just lacking of hitting balls, that’s the only thing,” said Thomas.

“As I’ve said, I have to be more consistent and I wasn’t consistent enough. I did okay in the Super50 but I had a poor run in the Four Day so I have to try and fix those things and have better consistent performances going forward.”

Thomas was not retained by the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots and had gone into the CPL draft as a result, but was not picked up by any of the other five franchises.

Zimbabwe allrounder Sikandar Raza is excited by the prospect of being the first from his country to play in the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

Raza was picked up by the Trinbago Knight Riders in the competition’s draft on Monday.

“CPL was missing from the CV and I’m glad it’s now there. But most importantly, I’m glad that there will be Zimbabwean representation,” said Raza.

According to Raza, the decision by the TKR could now help open the door for other Zimbabwean cricketers trying to break into the major T20 competitions around the world.

“What I believe in is that if one goes, then he’ll bring another one and then if the two impress, the number will double. I’m hopeful that more Zimbabweans can be snapped up next season,” said Raza.

The TKR failed to defend their title in 2019, with the Barbados Tridents claiming the top spot ahead of the Guyana Amazon Warriors.

The CPL, this year, will run from August 18-September 10 and be held entirely in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and the government of Trinidad & Tobago have come to an agreement for the whole of the 2020 season to be played in that country. The tournament will run from Tuesday 18 August to Thursday 10 September.

The CPL will have a full season and will feature overseas and Caribbean players with the standard higher than it has ever been with the likes of Rashid Khan, Chris Lynn, Carlos Brathwaite, Dwayne Bravo, Alex Hales and Kieron Pollard all set to take part.

Last year’s CPL had a combined broadcast and digital viewership of 312 million and with the tournament being the first franchise T20 event to take place in several months there will be more interest than ever.

The CPL have worked with the Trinidad & Tobago Ministry of Health and the CPL’s own board of medical advisors to create protocols which minimize risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus to the population of Trinidad and in amongst those who will be travelling to Trinidad & Tobago from overseas.

All teams and officials will be housed in one hotel and everyone will be subject to strict quarantine protocols for the first two weeks they are in the country. Everyone travelling from overseas will be tested for COVID-19, before departure and then again on arrival in Trinidad.

Teams and officials will be put into “households” where social distancing will need to be in place. There will be smaller clusters within each household where these measures can be relaxed. However, if any member of this cluster display signs of COVID-19 at any time during the tournament all members of that cluster will be expected to self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the time that a member of that cohort first shows symptoms.

All members of the CPL party will be subject to regular temperature checks and will be re-tested for the virus throughout their stay in Trinidad and again before departure.

Pete Russell, COO of Hero CPL, said: "We would like to express our gratitude and thanks to The Hon. Dr. Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, The Hon. Shamfa Cudjoe, Minister for Sport and Youth Affairs, The Hon. Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister for Health, Dr. Roshan Parasram, Chief Medical Officer for Trinidad & Tobago, Douglas Camacho, Chairman of Sport TT and their respective ministries and organisations for their support and guidance in making this all possible.

“We are really excited to bring high-class cricket to the Caribbean and to the rest of the world. The standard of players involved in this year’s tournament will be higher than ever and we can’t wait to get the tournament under way.”

I’m a Chelsea fan.

Now that is not a popular thing to be in my native Jamaica but I’ve been one since 1995, some 25 years ago.

I was not a fan of what used to be English football and at the time, the only team in the Premier League with any international flavour was Chelsea.

Chelsea boasted a squad with one English starter in Dennis Wise and were the only team in England that played with the type of flair I had grown up seeing from my father’s team of choice, Brazil.

Arsenal had not yet become the free-flowing team it became popular for and Manchester United, though winners, were not a target of my fancy.

But Chelsea, for all their beautiful football, were a mid-table team at best.

When they started to win, courtesy of an injection of cash from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, they lost some of that flair.

Players like Gianfranco Zola, Ruud Gullit and Gustavo Poyet were no longer there and Jose Mourinho had turned the team into something resembling a machine that built cars to exacting specifications. Still I delighted in their success. Now they’re losing again and cannot seem to compete with the might of the Manchester Cities and Liverpools of this era. They have returned to playing with some flair but I cannot be completely happy with all the changes they have made to date.

But I will likely remain a Chelsea fan for the remainder of my time on this planet.

The same is true of the Jamaica Tallawahs. I fell in love with the Tallawahs much, in the same way, I fell in love with Chelsea.

I understood franchise cricket in much the same way I did club football and would have chosen any of the six teams in the CPL to be ‘mine’.

But just as I became a fan of the way the dread-locked Gullit would marshall his midfield and later Zola would turn a game on its head with a moment of brilliance, I could not get enough of big-hitting innings from Chris Gayle.

It was for this reason and this reason solely that I became a fan of the Tallawahs but I cannot now abandon them because, just as in club football, franchise cricket will witness changes.

And there have been a myriad of changes to the Tallawahs since the start of the Hero Caribbean Premier League, some seven years ago.

Now, there is no Chris Gayle, and the latest squad seems a far cry from the exciting days of the big left-hander smacking balls onto the roof of the North Stand at Kingston’s Sabina Park.

Still, I will remain with the Tallawahs as any true fan of a team should.

And maybe, despite the many changes, this Tallawahs line-up has a chance.

They do have more balance than they have had in recent years.

For a while, the Tallawahs batting was their strength but they had to bat teams out of games. Whenever they failed to get more than just a competitive score, they were certain to lose. In fact, I think they have the ignominy of sporting some of the highest losing totals in the competition's history.

This year may be different.

Fidel Edwards is an experienced fast bowler, who, along with the pace of Oshane Thomas, could pose some problems for their opposition in the league.

The Tallawahs also have something they have been missing for a few years now as well. An incisive spinner. Tabraiz Shamsi is the type of slow bowler the Tallawahs may just need. A left-arm wrist spinner, Shamsi is aggressive, with his 19.8 strike rate suggesting he will take wickets in the middle overs where the Tallawahs have been found wanting over the years.

Allrounder Carlos Brathwaite can provide both batting and bowling for the Tallawahs on the odd occasion, while Veerasammy Permaul can also do a job.

Now, I wouldn’t venture to pick the Tallawahs line-up but they have last season’s leading runscorer for them, Glenn Phillips, who should partner Chadwick Walton. The two can be explosive and put any team on the back foot. In the middle order, there is exciting Pakistani batsman, Asif Ali, as well as the power of Rovman Powell and Andre Russell. On a given day, any of those names can hurt an opposition, but there is the question of consistency.

That question has plagued the Tallawahs for years even though they have won the CPL twice.

But on those two occasions, they had Chris Gayle and even though he may not have been the man to provide the finals-winning performances, he did come up with innings of real class that helped them in getting through the season.

Last season the Tallawahs finished last and it is no surprise that Gayle had a poor run throughout.

Without him, the Tallawahs seem less dangerous, but I am still rooting for them. They’re my team and seem more balanced than ever before, even without the mighty Chris.

Last year’s beaten Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) finalists, The Guyana Amazon Warriors, are boasting the retention of a very strong bowling line-up ahead of August’s start to the 2020 season.

Following a draft yesterday, it was revealed that the Warriors retained 11 players, including South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir.

Tahir, a veteran of 290 T20s has 365 wickets in the format with a best of 5-23 at an incredible average of 19.85.

The leg spinner goes at seven runs per over but more than makes up for that with his strike rate of 16.9. To date he has enjoyed two five-wicket hauls in his career along with 10 four-fors.

For company, Tahir will depend on the pace bowling of Jamaican, Odean Smith, as well as the intelligence of bowling allrounder Keemo Paul, and Romario Shepherd.

There is also some powerful batting on offer for the Warriors who have retained the services of Nicholas Pooran and signed former Tallawah’s player, Ross Taylor.

Taylor, the New Zealand middle-order batsman, is joined in that batting line-up by the return of Brandon King, who had a phenomenal 2019 with the Warriors.

King is expected to partner up with Chandrapaul Hemraj at the top of the order, with the dangerous Shimron Hetmyer also being retained.

Chris Green, last season’s skipper has also been retained, along with Sherfane Rutherford, and Anthony Bramble.

Afghanistan leg-break bowler, Qais Ahmad, was again signed by the Warriors, along with 20-year-old West Indies Emerging Team player, Kevin Sinclair.

There were draft picks for Afghan medium-fast bowler Naveen Ul Haq, West Indies under-19 left-arm orthodox, Ashmeade Nedd, and American medium-pacer, Jasdeep Singh.

 

Guyana Jaguars: Imran Tahir, Nicholas Pooran, Brandon King, Ross Taylor, Shimron Hetmyer, Chris Green, Qais Ahmad, Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd, Naveen Ul Haq, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Kevin Sinclair, Ashmeade Nedd, Odean Smith, Anthony Bramble, and Jadeep Singh.

Defending Hero Caribbean Premier League Champions (CPL), the Barbados Tridents, have earned the prized signing of the world’s number-one T20 bowler in Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan.

The Tridents were pulling off a coup on last year’s beaten finalists the Guyana Amazon Warriors, for whom Rashid would have last played for in the CPL.

Rashid will be joined by a team similar to the one that claimed the CPL title in 2020, as the Tridents have retained Jason Holder, Harry Gurney, Johnson Charles, Shai Hope, Hayden Walsh Jr, Ashley Nurse, Jonathan Carter, Raymon Reifer and Justin Greaves.

In yesterday’s CPL draft, the Tridents also picked untested Pakistan medium-fast bowler Shayan Jahangir, Afghan wicketkeeper-batsman Rahmanullah Gurbaz and re-drafted Kyle Mayers.

In addition, they have also picked up powerful English opener Alex Hales, despite a relatively lean time with the team last season.

Hales will be joined by new signing Australian middle-order batsman Marcus Stoinis and West Indies under-19 standout Nyeem Young.

Barbados Tridents: Rashid Khan, Jason Holder, Marcus Stoinis, Harry Gurney, Alex Hales, Johnson Charles, Shai Hope, Hayden Walsh Jr, Ashley Nurse, Jonathan Carter, Raymon Reifer, Kyle Mayers, Joshia Bishop, Nyeem Young, Justin Greaves, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, and Shayan Jahangir.

The St Kitts & Nevis Patriots were happy enough with their Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) outfit from last time out but made two interesting additions during the draft held earlier today.

Joshua De Silva, the only man to score a century during the West Indies intra-match practice games over the last two weeks, has been drafted into the Patriots line-up, while Australian, Chris Lynn has come over from the Guyana Jaguars.

De Silva showed he can bat, but the 22-year-old Trinidad and Tobago wicketkeeper-batsman has never played a T20 match and averages 32.88 from his 16 First-Class games. He averages 41 in List A cricket but that is just from 10 games.

While De Silva is an unknown quantity, Lynn’s quality with the bat is world-renowned and he could form a dangerous partnership with Evin Lewis at the top of the Patriots order.

Lewis has been retained along with Jamaican pacer Sheldon Cottrell, and allrounder Rayad Emrit.

The Patriots also chose to retain Fabian Allen, West Indies pacer Alzarri Joseph, and Dominic Drakes.

As for signings, the Patriots will have South Africa’s Rassie van der Dussen, Former Pakistan medium pacer, Sohail Tanvir, and returning New Zealander, Ish Sodhi.

The Patriots also have the experience of Denesh Ramdin along with Colin Archibald, John Russ Jaggesar, Sunny Sohal, and Dennis Bulli.

The Trinbago Knight Riders have not made too many changes to the team that are perennial challengers for the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) title.

The Knight Riders have retained all of 11 players for this season’s CPL, set to run from August 18 to September 10 after a remote draft held earlier today.

The Knight Riders will return this season with Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Khary Pierre, Amir Jangoo, Tion Webster, Akeal Hosein and Muhammad Ali Khan.

They have also signed 18-year-old West Indies under-19 medium-pacer Jayden Seales, as well as carrying back Australian Fawad Ahmed and New Zealand’s Colin Munro after they had stints away last season.

New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Seifert is the new name in the line-up after Denesh Ramdin was transferred to the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots.

Seifert comes to the team with 83 T20s under his belt, scoring a century and eight half-centuries at an average of 25.26. He has had 65 dismissals behind the stumps, inclusive of 13 stumpings.

The Knight Riders have drafted four players though, picking up 48-year-old Indian leg-spinner Pravin Tambe, Anderson Phillip, who played with them las season, showing good pace, as well as Zimbabwe all-rounder, Sikandar Raza.

 

Trinbago Knight Riders: Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Colin Munro, Australia’s Fawad Ahmed, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Khary Pierre, Tim Seifert, Sikandar Raza, Anderson Phillip, Pravin Tambe, Jayden Seales, Amir Jangoo, Tion Webster, Akeal Hosein, and Muhammad Ali Khan.

Former South African top-order batsman Rilee Rossouw is the man expected to replace the hole in the St Lucia Zouks batting left by the absence of Chris Gayle.

Gayle, who had made the move from the Jamaica Tallawahs to the St Lucia Zouks, announced that, for personal reasons, he would be sitting out the Hero Caribbean Premier League.

The decision, meant the Daren Sammy-led unit, would be hard pressed to find another big hitter this season.

Roussouw’s signing could be just the Philip they are looking for.

The South African is a seasoned campaigner, having played 199 T20s throughout his career. He averages 29.72 and though he only has two centuries, he scored 27 half centuries in the format at a strike rate of 135.

Along with Rossouw, Sammy has Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi, Chemar Holder, Mark Deyal, Leniko Boucher, Javelle Glen and Canadian, Saad Bin Zafar at his disposal.

The team has retained South African Colin Ingram, Andre Fletcher, Kesrick Williams, Rahkeem Cornwall, Obed McCoy, and Kavem Hodge.

They have also signed West Indies under-19 captain Kimani Melius, as well as Afghanistan left-arm spinner Noor Ahmad and South African fast bowler Anrich Nortje.

 

St Lucia Zouks: Rilee Rossouw, Mohammad Nabi, Daren Sammy, Colin Ingram, Andre Fletcher, Kesrick Williams, Anrich Nortje, Chemar Holder, Obed McCoy, Rahkeem Cornwall, Mark Deyal, Noor Ahmad, Kimani Melius, Leniko Boucher, Kavem Hodge, Javelle Glen, and Saad Bin Zafar.

Carlos Brathwaite will turn out for the Jamaica Tallawahs this season after the all-rounder was drafted by the Franchise ahead of the August 18-September 10 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

The CPL held it’s online draft earlier on Monday, with the Tallawahs also drafting Nepaleese leg-spinner, Sandeep Lamichhane.

The Tallawahs team threatens to look very different from it has in previous years, though they have retained the services of Andre Russell, Rovman Powell, Glenn Phillips, Chadwick Walton, and Oshane Thomas.

Brathwaite and Lamichhane will team up with fellow draftees Fidel Edwards, Asif Ali, Preston McSween, Nicholas Kirton, Jeavor Royal, Veerasammy Permaul, and Ryan Persaud.

The Tallawahs will also welcome the services of South Africa’s Tabraiz Shamsi, who was a hit with the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in a previous iteration of the CPL.

 

Jamaica Tallawahs: Andre Russell, Sandeep Lamichhane, Carlos Brathwaite, Rovman Powell, Tabraiz Shamsi, Glenn Phillips, Chadwick Walton, Oshane Thomas, Asif Ali, Fidel Edwards, Preston McSween, Andre McCarthy, Nicholas Kirton, Jeavor Royal, Nkrumah Bonner, Veerasammy Permaul, Ryan Persaud

Once there is a commitment from the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) regarding safety protocols and the Ministry of Health gives the all-clear, Trinidad and Tobago is all for hosting the entire tournament in the country.

Last week it was reported that the CPL were intent on presenting a proposal to T&T Prime Minister Keith Rowley for the country to host the entire tournament at two venues, the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Torouba and the Queen’s Park Oval in St Clair.

This week, Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, Shamfa Cudjoe, said the government was “very, very much open” to the proposal.

The CPL and the Ministry of Sport met on Thursday to discuss plans for a tournament under the health protocols that have become standard since the beginning of the spread of COVID-19.

T&T already has a three-year deal with the CPL where it is to pay US$1 million to facilitate the hosting of semi-finals and finals in addition to the Trinbago Knight Riders’ home games. According to Cudjoe, the financial element of the proposal is not something that has been broached just yet.

"The proposal speaks primarily to the health protocol, and doesn't cover budget or anything of that sort. I must commend CPL for taking this time out to touch on and examine each and every part of the health protocol - from quarantine period after the players land, as to how they are going to be housed, how they are fed and how to maintain social distancing, even rules as to whether saliva or sweat can be used on the ball - they went into detail," said Cudjoe speaking on i95.5fm radio out of T&T.

Cudjoe also went on to say the CPL was recommending a mid-August date for the commencement of the tournament, which would be played in 25 days featuring double headers at both venues.

The Sports Minister said the CPL would be bringing budgetary proposals to the discussion table next week, and that a more concrete answer regarding the safety of hosting the tournament in the country which has remained largely unaffected by the virus with just 117 reported cases to date would be given at that time.

The Barbados Tridents are the defending champions of the Hero CPL.

On this week’s episode of ‘The Commentators’, Donald Oliver and Ricardo Chambers are discussing Chris Gayle like everybody has.

The Tallawahs management this week rejected Chris Gayle’s attack on them over his exit from the CPL franchise but the Jamaica-based entity is doomed to failure if the fans don’t buy their story.

Gayle labelled Assistant Coach Ramnaresh Sarwan a "snake", "vindictive" and "despicable" as he ripped into retired Guyana and West Indies batsman and the “politics” he said triggered his departure from the Tallawahs.

On the ropes after Gayle’s verbal blows, the Tallawahs issued a terse press release that was too tame to be taken seriously, then stiff jabs by Andre Russell and Sarwan’s Gayle rebuttal 24 hours later hurled the issue into more confusion.

The Tallawahs top brass says omitting Gayle from the Tallawahs 2020 CPL roster was made purely on business and cricketing reasoning but the “business” reasoning seems seriously flawed.

Sabina Park attendance is critical to the franchise’s commercial success and we’ve already seen how unattractive a Gayle-less Tallawahs is to Jamaican fans. Not to mention the possibility of a calculated match boycott in solidarity over any perceived disrespect of a local star, as we’ve seen before in Caribbean cricket.

In April 1992, Barbadians pointedly shunned the historic one-off Test at Kensington Oval against South Africa because an anticipated debut was not given to local boy Anderson Cummins, who at that time enjoyed probably a mere 5% of the immense popularity Chris Gayle commands in Jamaica.

Gayle was visibly hurt in his YouTube outburst as he lashed the Tallawahs and Sarwan.

It was, to me, an unprofessional display by a giant in modern-day cricket but the new age of communicating with fans probably made it easy for him to go that route. His rant though, not only badly tainted his ex-West Indies teammate Sarwan but also soiled Chris Gayle and cricket’s image.

The Jamaica Tallawahs were – based on Gayle’s account – hugely at fault for not communicating with him honestly that they weren’t interested in retaining him for the 2020 season and absolutely nothing in the Tallawahs’ press release refuted Gayle’s charge that CEO Jeff Miller and Owner Krish Persaud failed to inform him that he was not in their plans for the upcoming season.

Gayle, now 40 years old, felt betrayed by an organization that gave him their word and went back on it. Gayle made only a passing mention of this, but it’s also instructive that Miller chose to speak directly with Gayle instead of the standard route of going through his agent.

It is very easy for me to deduce that the Tallawahs’ request – according to Gayle – to take not one or two but three pay cuts, may have been a strategy to frustrate him away from the franchise since they were not brave enough to confront the big-hitting superstar-about releasing him from the deal.

I understood fully the Tallawahs being “disappointed” over the way Gayle went public and I agree with their position to “much rather have had these discussions in private” but that is under normal circumstances and clearly Gayle did not consider the circumstances normal. He felt he was dealing with a group that he could no longer trust.

Did this Jamaican franchise ever consider that Gayle would have needed time to pursue other options if he knew he wasn’t with them? It was on deadline day that Gayle said he was called, not by the Tallawahs, but by a CPL official who did not see his name on the list!

Because of Gayle’s monumental record as a T20 batting star and crowd puller, the St Lucia Zouks snapped him up immediately. Gayle could have been left out-of-contract for the 2020 season because of the Tallawahs’ non-communication.

I am not interested at this point in addressing Gayle’s scathing and toxic references to his “former” friend Sarwan, nor the rebuttal coming from the 39-year-old Guyanese that he had no part in “the decision or the decision-making process” in not retaining Gayle. A lot was said in the narrative from both men and at this stage, it’s one man’s word against the other. Both very wounded by actions of the other. Cricket lost in that exchange.

I became aware very early in my career as a broadcast journalist that while fans worship sporting heroes because of the unbridled joy they generate, these successful men and women on the field of play are human beings like us.

They have imperfections, character weaknesses and limitations that adoring fans will hastily gloss over in standing behind them in times of controversy.

The Jamaica Tallawahs may have been in a position regarding Gayle as some Big Bash and IPL franchises had reached, where his stocks had declined over time, so Gayle being at a crossroad in franchise T20 cricket is not new. He had not been a part of Australia’s Big Bash since 2016 and his IPL standing had been shaken ahead of the 2018 season.

Gayle’s career had been highlighted by some tremendous seasons with Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore, including 2012 when he topped the IPL’s batting charts with 733 runs at an awesome 61.80 average and 2013 when he averaged 59.0. But after two moderate seasons, 2016 and 2017, when he averaged a mere 22.7 and 22.2, RCB were no longer interested and he almost went unsold ahead of the 2018 IPL campaign.

The King’s XI Punjab bought him and he showed in 2019 he still had shots to fire with a 40.83 average.

As a privately owned franchise, The Jamaica Tallawahs has to make its own decisions. Under Chris Gayle’s leadership last year, the team played very poorly and finished last with eight defeats in their 10 games. He averaged a moderate 24.30 and his 243-run tally was No.2 on the Tallawahs batting list behind the New Zealander Glen Phillips (374).

By Gayle’s own admission, there was turmoil in the camp as referenced in his caustic YouTube address admitting that he “flipped” in a “very heated meeting” ahead of the last CPL game that “almost got physical”, clear signs there of a dysfunctional team setting. The scale of the clash with Gayle suggesting players were “making fun of the Universe Boss” and mocking him “in front of the younger players” could be interpreted as team damage that’s irreparable.

So, If the Jamaica Tallawahs managers believe that going forward without Gayle is a step toward rebuilding, it is their right, but it should have been done professionally, certainly more skillfully given what Gayle represents to Jamaican cricket fans.

The current world leader in T20 cricket Andre Russell has also jumped in, accusing the Tallawahs of poor communication while angrily announcing he is quitting the franchise after the upcoming season scheduled to start in August.

The CPL has been sold to the Caribbean public as an event with huge economic benefits potentially to the territories, but the truth is that team owners have been struggling over the years and the Tallawahs are heading for even tougher times.

This is not to suggest that the Tallawahs franchise cannot flourish without Gayle because he would have to go at some point, but Gayle’s absence has negatively affected CPL attendance at Sabina Park in the past and that effect would be escalated if the fan perception is that the T20 batting Phenom was disrespected by the Tallawahs owners and management.

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