(Jamaica Gleaner) Chris Gayle’s decision to represent Western Australia instead of Jamaica in Twenty20 cricket next month has not gone down well with the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA).
According to JCA president, Paul Campbell, Gayle was presented with information that the Caribbean Twenty20 would be played around the same time as Australia’s domestic Twenty20 Big Bash tournament, however, for whatever reason he chose to go and play ‘Down Under’.
“We are disappointed that he did not chose Jamaica, but there is really no hard feelings towards him,” said Campbell.
“He was presented with information about the earlier staging of the Caribbean Twenty20 (CT20) tournament, but in the end it was his decision, and he chose to play elsewhere.
“We would have loved for him to have chosen Jamaica, given the fact that this would be in sync with our goals and objectives of wanting to field our best team always and trying to win major tournaments.
“Included in this is the CT20, which offers the region’s biggest prize tag, and which should we win would qualify us for the Champions League.”
The CT20, which will be held between January 10 and 23 will see the winners taking home US$25,000 (approx.J$2.2m), and gain the right to represent the region at the Champions League.
The Champions League, which is one of the world’s richest cricket tournaments, in the meanwhile, will offer a participation fee of a minimum US$300,000 (approx. J$25.8m), and a winner’s prize tag of US$2.5m (approx. J$215m).
It is against this backdrop why Campbell, who has been president of the association for the past two years, and his associates are peeved at Gayle’s decision, as according to him, it is an open secret that the JCA is at the moment struggling to balance its books.
“The economics of the thing is such that unless we win tournaments we are going to struggle to maintain our programmes,” he said.
“Heading into this season it was our intention to win the CT20 and the regional four-day tournament, which offers a US$15,000 winners’ prize.
“Having won the CT20 we would then have some money to at least break-even as it relates to the cost of running the national programme.
“So with Gayle out it is somewhat a major blow. But having said that I am confident in the players that we have, and know that if they play to their ability we can still win,” he added.
But according Gayle, in a STAR Sports interview last week, his decision to play for Western Australia had been before he knew of the change in dates of the CT20 from October last season, to January this season, and as such him choosing to play for Western Australia was a matter of honouring his contract.
“It’s not like I am turning my back on Jamaica. It’s about having a contract with a team and honouring that contract,” Gayle said.
“It was actually in my plans to play for Western Australia before any itinerary regarding this season’s Caribbean Twenty20 was set.
“I was actually offered a two-year contact by Western Australia last season, but at the time I chose to sign on for one year.
“However, with me not being able to complete the season due to injuries, I decided to return this season,” the 31-year-old added.
Jamaica will bow into action on the opening day of the Caribbean Twenty20 against defending champions Guyana in a game which will be broadcast live by ESPN. In the absence of Gayle, Jamaica will look to newly appointed captain Wavell Hinds, Marlon Samuels, Xavier Marshall, wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh Jr and bowlers Nikita Miller and Jerome Taylor as they seek to claim their first regional Twenty20 title after three previous attempts.