General Manager of the Jamaica Tallawahs Mohammed Khan said ‘world boss’ batsman Chris Gayle will be missed but the team will continue to do well in his absence.
News broke late last week that Gayle would be leaving the Tallawahs to join the St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots.
Gayle, in a television interview, said it was time to move on and thanked fans for the support over the four years. He also expressed the wish for the Tallawahs and the Patriots to meet in the final.
The news came as a surprise to many but according to Khan, he and Gayle discussed the latter’s departure at the end of last season after the Tallawahs won their second CPL title.
“After the season Chris and I had a conversation planning for next year,” Khan said while speaking exclusively with Sportsmax.tv from Pakistan where he said he is scouting players.
“Chris made a note to tell me he wanted to move on for personal reasons. He has a family in St. Kitts, his partner, his daughter, and as he is getting older he wants to spend more time with them and so very simply from our side we respect Chris’ service to the Tallawahs for four years. He won two titles. He made a personal decision. We didn’t want to get in the way of that decision. We wanted to make that happen and pay him respect for his service and submitted to his wishes and do it in an amicable and respectful way.”
Going forward, Khan said, the Tallawahs would not be looking to replace Gayle. Instead, the plan is to build a team that will contend for and win titles.
“At this stage in his career there are very few players like Chris and even last year we saw what Chris did against Trinidad that was a huge game for us. If you think about the first game against Guyana when Chris got injured and he came down at number 7,” Khan said referring to Gayle knock of 45 off 29 balls to help the Tallawahs to a close win over the Amazon Warriors.
“Chris’ impact goes without saying; as a leader as a captain. It was my first year running the franchise, Chris captained the side really well. All the guys respected him so I think he does leave a hole in our team but at the same time, we won last year because we had a really good team.”
The general manager said even though Gayle was influential to the team’s success, many of the other players also played significant roles as the team marched towards their second CPL title last season.
“We brought in a lot of guys that people didn’t know too much about. Guys like Rovman Powell, guys like Imad Wasim, guys like Oshane Thomas, guys like Keswick Williams. Each of these guys had a profound impact on our success. If you analyze each and every one of our games you will find that each and every one on our roster was impactful, every player on our roster was key to our success,” Khan said, emphasizing that the team was built to play a particular style of cricket.
“We have a certain way of playing the game. We want to be very aggressive, we want to have good fast bowlers, spinners and we want to be a team that dominates,” he reasoned. “With Chris not there it is going to be a little different but we are going to find solutions both in the local talent pool and also international talent pool and I say one thing for sure and that is, we will be there at the end of CPL 2017, and we will be one the best teams, and we are looking to compete again for the title with or without Chris.”
Khan said Gayle leaves behind a team on solid ground and he plans to build on that and make the Tallawahs a force for the next edition of the CPL that gets under way next August.
“I trust the players that we have, the players that we are retaining. I trust our scouting and that we are going to bring some really good new players onto our team and I really believe in our coaches, Paul, Mark are excellent coaches,” he said.
“We have great management staff and great atmosphere in our dressing room. And at the end of the day, teams win championships. Of course, we are going to be missing out on a very good individual talent, a superstar player that has given everything for our team but at the same time we move on, and find the next guy. At the end of the day it’s about building a team, a collection of individuals doesn’t win championships, but teams do. That is kind of our philosophy and that is what we are looking to do coming up in the draft in March.”