You don’t have to be the most avid cricket fan to have the “Chris Gayle vs Jamaica Tallawahs management” fiasco in your consciousness. Two weeks ago it was announced that Gayle was released from the franchise, and while it came as a shock to many, no one could have anticipated all that would unfold in the subsequent days. The hard-hitting left hander took to social media to address the matter, and while doing so, attacked his former West Indies teammate-turned Jamaica Tallawahs assistant coach Ramnaresh Sarwan.
Without being a fly on the wall to know what exactly transpired in all of those conversations, no one will know for sure what transpired between Gayle and the management team. What we can say with some degree of certainty, however, is that the 2019 CPL season is the last time the self-proclaimed “Universe Boss” would have represented his local franchise. Needless to say, opinions on the matter are divided.
On one side, fans are quick to make the claim that the management team “diss the Boss”. With all that he has done, and accomplished for the country, the alleged manner through which he was released was nothing short of disrespectful and unprincipled.
On the other, “pundits” (which many of us claim to be) insist that the Caribbean Premier League T20 and the Tallawahs franchise is a business, and as such unpopular decisions will be made in the interest of future success. Loyalties be damned.
To add some context, last season Gayle captained the team to its worst-ever finish in the history of the tournament, winning only two of 10 matches played, and on occasion putting on a horrible display of effort. Individually he only managed 243 runs, with 116 of those coming against the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots – a match in which the Tallawahs failed to defend 241 runs.
But what was the real motive behind that three-part video series Gayle uploaded to YouTube explaining the break up? Was it all about principle? Was it to clear the air on the false narratives being circulated, and bring to light the “true” what, when, where, and how of it all? Or was it another glimpse at the “bad side” of social media, where a 40-year-old will choose to conjure up emotions and rehash an incident that happened some 20+ years prior, and use this event as an excuse to embark on a name-calling, character-defaming tirade? Was this approach truly necessary or was CH Gayle simply being petty? Couldn’t the matter at hand be addressed in a more professional manner? The answers to this we may never know.
To add to the madness of it all, another hard-hitting son of the soil – Andre Russell (who also took to social media to share his two cents) – has since expressed publicly that the upcoming T20 campaign could very well be his last with the Tallawahs franchise. Again, one has to question the root cause of the announcement. Are there really organizational flaws that exist within the franchise that he is no longer comfortable dancing around? Or is it merely out of respect for Gayle, who himself noted that “when I texted him, Russell did call me back and share his point of view because loyalty goes a long way.”
Will the franchise have to suffer because of a disagreement between a few individuals? What is the franchise without those stand-out names to draw the crowd, and fill the stands?
As everyone takes to social media to share their side of the story, and choose a side to stand on, we can’t help but wonder… Is this all a matter of principle? Or is it downright pettiness? You decide.