Sangakkara hails Gayle impact
Sri Lankan batting star Kumar Sangakkara has praised the leadership of captain Chris Gayle after Jamaica Tallawahs beat Guyana Amazon Warriors in the final of the Caribbean Premier League last Sunday to claim their second regional Twenty20 title.
Sangakkara said the 36-year-old Gayle had been an inspiration in the dressing room, pointing out that his "determination to win" had been a key factor in the franchise's triumph.
"It is absolutely fantastic. I think it is just a vindication of how the team has played, unbelievably well led by the captain Chris Gayle," said Sangakkara.
"A lot of people look at Chris from the outside and think that he is all casual and happy-go-lucky, but he is a man with a lot of determination to win and when you are close and playing in the same side, you see that passion."
Gayle finished as his side's leading run-scorer with 425 runs at an average of 42, including a century against Trinbago Knight Riders in the opening leg of the tournament.
He was well supported by all-rounder AndrÈ Russell, who was voted Player of the Series for his 286 runs and 11 wickets, while opener Chadwick Walton managed 301 runs and Sangakkara, 297.
Despite the performances by the big names, the veteran Sangakkara pointed out that the Tallawahs' success had come through a strong team effort.
"Credit to Superman Russell, unbelievable again. Kesrick (Williams) I think has been just a champion throughout, but every single person has contributed," Sangakkara noted.
"From Imad Wasim to Shakib al Hasan to Jonathan Foo coming in for the last two games, and then Oshane (Thomas), just two games, the semi-final and the final and bowled outstandingly well. I think it's just been a fantastic team effort."
Sangakkara, who recently quit international cricket and has been focusing on T20 cricket in the twilight of his career, said it had been a thrill for him to represent Tallawahs.
"That is the whole point of playing. If you are not going contribute to winning campaigns, it is always hard to keep yourself going," he said. "It was a privilege at my age to come and play with these boys and still be of value."
Australian Chris Lynn, who was part of the losing Amazon Warriors side, said the Georgetown-based franchise had nothing to be ashamed of.
"It is disappointing, but I said in the team meeting beforehand, regardless of how we played tonight, we had a really good tournament," he said.
"We were the underdogs in the actual tournament and we had some very good performances. We can hold our heads high and we have got the motivation to go one better next year."