Wed | Sep 20, 2017

I followed my heart - Gayle

Published:Monday | December 19, 2016 | 12:00 AMRobert Bailey

Hard-hitting Jamaican batsman Chris Gayle says that while he has not turned his back on the Jamaica Tallawahs in signing with the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots for the upcoming Hero Caribbean Premier League, he is following his heart and believes that the move can be a positive one for regional cricket.

Gayle also added that he had been considering the move for some time and that he was looking forward to one day returning to again represent the Tallawahs.

"I am the champion, and so I am entitled to make whatever decision I want at any particular time," said Gayle. "Jamaica will always be my hometown, Jamaica has my heart and Jamaica is my everything."

"It is Chris Gayle, and so it is going to be a big issue, but it's cricke, and so the show must go on. But I am looking forward to coming back to Jamaica and playing."

"I pictured this from a long time ago, and even when we won the final, I joked about it, and eventually it came to my mind, and so I just followed my heart," Gayle added.

Gayle was a major draw during a benefit Twenty20 match yesterday at his home club, Lucas Cricket Club in Rollington Town. The benefit was held to help raise funds for long-standing coach Dennis Miller, who is battling prostate cancer.

Miller is a former Jamaica Under-15 and Jamaica College school coach. He guided Jamaica to their first hold on the Carib Cement Regional Under-15 tournament in 1996.

Gayle, who led the Tallawahs in every instalment of the CPL, including title wins in 2013 and again last year, isn't expecting too much fall-off where his old team is concerned and is confident the move will also help to boost the tournament.

"I think that they (Tallawahs) will still have a great team, and so I don't see any reason why they will not be in the top four and then moving on to the final, but, hopefully, it will be a St Kitts and Jamaica final," he said.

"St Kitts has done well in the CPL before, and so I am going to try and take on the challenge and to play for a new team," Gayle said. "I have won two trophies for Jamaica, and so I see it fit to make a change and uplift the game of cricket."

"I have seen where it (the switch) has caused a lot of speculation, and this is actually good for the tournament from a marketing point of view," added Gayle, whose partner is also from St Kitts and Nevis.