Tallawahs have big void to fill - analysts
Local cricket analysts believe Chris Gayle's departure from the Jamaica Tallawahs to the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots ahead of the new Caribbean Premier League (CPL) season will leave a big void in the Jamaican franchise - one that will not be easily filled.
Maurice Foster and Wayne Lewis both believe that it's an opportunity for other batsmen to step up, while it makes for stronger, more interesting competition for the region's premier Twenty20 tournament.
When news broke on Thursday that the well-loved, hard-hitting Jamaican batsman was leaving Jamaica for St Kitts and Nevis, many pointed to family reasons, while some argued that money was his motive, but whatever the reason, Gayle's exit has broken the hearts of many Jamaican cricket fans.
"Any T20 team will miss the power of a Chris Gayle, especially when he's batting well," Foster told The Gleaner. "The players will miss him not only for his performance, but his captaincy as he is also important in terms of team unity."
NOTHING WRONG WITH CHANGE
"They won it twice with Chris as captain. But this gives another player a chance to step up to the plate. So without Chris, they will have to find another power hitter, who maybe can do a more consistent job than Chris. But nothing's wrong with change and it's not that he is deserting Tallawahs," Foster said.
Lewis says Gayle is irreplaceable, but called on other players to seize the chance to try and fill his boots.
"He will be terribly missed. I can't imagine who will replace him. They will probably need three or four people to replace him; that's how invaluable he is. But it's an opportunity for someone to step up and make their mark. This as an opportunity to step up and maintain the high standard Chris has set," he said.
He added, "He inspired the team to win games. So (many) people underestimate the intangibles of an effective captain. He got players to perform at an optimum level, and that's why we won it (CPL) twice."
"He hinted last year that if he didn't win, he would play for another franchise. It's for better for the competition, and it would be nice to play and can go home to be with your daughter," Foster added.
Lewis commented, "He has family ties there but lives in Jamaica. But if it's money, what's wrong with it? Power to him - we need money to live. Money makes the world goes around, so if you need to secure your future, no one can fault you. But this just goes to show the level of professionalism being shown by our sports in the Caribbean."