André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
West Indies star batsman Chris Gayle told reporters yesterday that he has been left drained from a hectic cricketing schedule, which he pointed to as the reason behind his decision to skip the ongoing one-day international series between the regional team and Zimbabwe.
Gayle, who late last year launched a nursery programme at his Lucas Cricket Club, which is named in his honour, was returning to the east Kingston outfit to make a $543,000 donation, which is expected to drive the programme that caters to youngsters from the community.
The former West Indies captain, who has had much-documented issues with the WICB, raised several eyebrows when he requested a break from the current series, but as he explained, the move is merely temporary and is meant to recharge his batteries ahead of a long cricketing season.
"I felt that I had been playing a lot of cricket and I was getting mentally drained and that is not good, your cricket will fall apart if you're mentally drained, and I felt the need to take a break," said Gayle. "I asked them (WICB) for the break and, thankfully, it was granted.
"It's not a long break, I will be back for the Test series, I'm still in preparation, putting in the work to be mentally and physically ready for the first Test match coming up," he added. Gayle, who is hoping that his foundation will play a role in improving the state of the club where he rose to prominence, labelled the contribution as the start of greater things to come.
"It's good to be back to be able to make another formal presentation. This is the start of a new beginning for Lucas and the Chris Gayle Foundation and, hopefully, a lot of hands can come together to help this foundation grow from strength to strength," said Gayle.
Foundation director and Gayle's manager, Radcliffe Haynes, was excited about the prospects and possible impact of the project.
"We hope that this will go a far way in helping Lucas Cricket Club, the home of George Headley, Chris Gayle, Gareth Breese and a number of other persons, in realising the dream of taking back Lucas on top of cricket in Jamaica and helping the youngsters as well," said Haynes.
Also on hand where executives from Gayle's bat sponsor Spartan Sports, who announced scholarship element, which will see one youngster, chosen by Gayle, receive full cricket supplies to aid in his development.