Tallawahs select Simmons as Gayle replacement
Jamaica Tallawahs will be hoping that Trinidadian opener Lendl Simmons will be able fill the gap left by the big-hitting Chris Gayle after the former was selected as the number one pick in the 2017 HERO Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 player draft held in Barbados yesterday.
The power-hitting Simmons, a two-time World Cup winning member with the West Indies Twenty20 team, replaces Gayle, who is to represent the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, having accepted a transfer proposal.
The talismanic Gayle captained the Tallawahs to two titles in the tournament's four-year history. The first was the inaugural edition in 2013 with the second coming last season.
The draft, which had each of the tournament's six teams filling placings for their 15-player rosters, also saw the Tallawahs making two other high-profiled signings.
They are veteran Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Sami, and West Indies left-arm seamer, Krishmar Santokie.
The duo, it is anticipated, will be hoping to fill the void left by fast bowling all-rounder Andre Russell, who was suspended last month by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel following a World Anti-Doping Agency whereabouts rule violation.
The draft also saw the Tallawahs adding to their roster, enterprising young Jamaica Scorpions all-rounder Rovman Powell, who was picked up for US$60,000 in the sixth round of the 15 round event.
The players in the draft attracted a capped price tag of between US$160,000 and US$3,000 with the former going for the number one draftee and the latter for the number 15 equivalent.
The number two draft for the Tallawahs, who attracts a price tag of US$130,000, is Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakarra, who prior to the draft, was assigned as the Tallawahs overseas marquee player.
The other top five signings for Jamaica are Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, and Pakistani spinner Imad Wasim, who were members of the winning team last season, and were drafted for US$110,000 and US$90,000, respectively.
Of note as well during the two-hour draft is the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots selection of exciting young Jamaica Scorpions batsman, Brandon King. The former West Indies Under-19 batsman, who burst on the scene with boundary-filled 195 against the Leeward Islands Hurricanes in regional four-day action late last year, was picked up in the ninth round by the Patriots for US$15,000.