FORMER West Indies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan has denied claims that he played a part in the decision to release Chris Gayle from the Jamaica Tallawahs for the 2020 Hero Caribbean Premier League.
“I categorically deny any involvement in the decision or the decision-making process, which led to Gayle’s non-selection to represent the Jamaica Tallawahs in the 2020 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) tournament,” Sarwan said in a statement.
Gayle went on a rant releasing three videos on Youtube on Monday titled Breakdown of Release from Jamaica Tallawahs. Gayle gave reasons why he thought he was released by the Tallawahs, which included blaming Sarwan.
On Wednesday, a Tallawahs release sent to the Naewsday attempted to clear the air. The release said the ownership and management of the team, which did not include Sarwan, decided to release Gayle because of business and cricketing reasoning.
Gayle, 40, has signed with the St Lucia Zouks for the 2020 Hero Caribbean Premier League.
In his attack against Sarwan, Gayle said, “What transpired with the Tallawahs, you had a big part to play in this.”
Gayle said the feud between Sarwan and himself may have also stemmed from a discussion the pair had concerning the head coaching job of the Tallawahs. Gayle claims Sarwan wanted to be the head coach instead of Donovan Miller. Gayle was honest with Sarwan telling the former right-handed batsman that he has no experience being a head coach and it is not an easy job. Gayle said Sarwan was upset by his opinion and held that against him when Miller was selected as head coach.
Gayle also claimed the decision to release him from the team was political. The hard-hitting Jamaican was invited by the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) in Guyana to visit a community. Gayle said Tallawahs owner Kris Persaud is an affiliate of another political party in Guyana, therefore Gayle’s visit ruffled some feathers.
Gayle, who believes Persaud was influenced to get rid of him, said the owner and Sarwan share a close relationship.
The Tallawahs release said the franchise is not involved in politics.
Sarwan, 39, said Gayle’s claims can damage the character of people.
“In that video, he has levelled false allegations and tarnished the good name and reputation of a series of persons. I was the focus of most of the onslaughts. I reply, not because I feel that Gayle’s rantings are worthy of it, but because I feel that the public’s record must be set straight and also, to protect the character and careers of so many people, whose image he sought to besmirch.”
The former West Indies batsmen played together on numerous occasions as they both made their Test debuts in the year 2000. Sarwan hopes his former team-mate has not damaged the game in the region.
“It is my sincere hope that Gayle’s damnation has not caused irreparable damage to the unity and brotherhood which cricket has forged across the West Indies. Let me make it abundantly clear, I have played with Gayle from the inception of my international career and I have always respected him as an extraordinary talent, a colleague and most importantly, a close friend. Hence, my utter shock by these scandalous allegations. He was welcomed in and is loved by my immediate family and (this) has hurt them terribly.”
The former Guyanese cricketer said the incident Gayle spoke about while they were Under-19 cricketers in 1996 is false.
“Gayle refers to an incident as far back as 24 years ago, he claimed that I caused him to be sent home from Barbados during a tour because he was watching television all night in the room which I shared with him. This is a total fabrication, no competent management would remove him from a series, a player of Chris’s calibre on such a trivial allegation.”
Concerning the head coaching position of the Tallawahs, Sarwan said he was contented to accept the position as an assistant coach.
“In 2019, I was appointed head coach. I reached out to Chris and discussed with him, the selection of a team. I did so out of respect for him. In my conversation with Gayle about the team, he informed me that Donovan Miller, a Jamaican and a very close friend of Chris, should be appointed head coach as he would better understand the culture of the Jamaican players. I conveyed Gayle’s view to the CEO (Jeff Miller), informing the CEO that I would be happy to step aside for Miller’s appointment, given that Chris feels strongly about his appointment. My priority was what would be in the best interest of the team.”
Sarwan is worried that young cricketers would think that Gayle’s rant is the acceptable way of addressing problems.