(CMC) — Veteran Twenty20 (T20) superstar Chris Gayle has escaped punishment from the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) over his verbal attack on Ramnaresh Sarwan despite refusing to back down from the controversial comments made in a caustic Youtube video.
While acknowledging in a statement late Friday that his comments could “be viewed as being damaging to Cricket West Indies (CWI) and to the CPL tournament”, the 40-year-old said he nevertheless stood “by my comments in those videos”, contending that “my words were spoken from the heart”.
“Recently, I posted three videos on my personal YouTube channel, where I addressed the reasons for my departure from the Jamaica Tallawahs franchise ahead of the 2020 CPL tournament,” Gayle said in a statement issued by the CPL.
“I made these videos with one single intention – to explain to the fans in Jamaica the reasons behind, what has now become, my second departure from the Tallawahs franchise.
“It was my greatest wish to finish my CPL career in Jamaica – playing in front of my home crowd at Sabina Park with the franchise that I had previously led to two CPL titles.
“In so far as my resentment at the treatment, I stand by my comments in those videos. My words were spoken from the heart.”
He continued: “Having said that, I must be honest and say that I now realise how portions of my comments may be viewed as being damaging to Cricket West Indies and to the CPL tournament and its brand – a tournament which I have sincerely enjoyed not just being a part of, but also helping to build and promote.
“It was never my intention to damage the T20 tournament, as playing in the CPL has guaranteed an opportunity for the past [seven] years to play in front of the great fans of the Caribbean. This is a privilege which I genuinely appreciate and have never taken for granted.”
Former Jamaica Prime Minister PJ Patterson, chairman of the CPL Tournament Committee (CTC), said a formal complaint had been laid by the CPL against Gayle for a breach of the tournament rules and regulations.
And while the committee had “authorised the establishment of an independent three-member tribunal to hear the matter”, Patterson said “intense efforts” had been made to settle the matter before proceeding with the formal disciplinary process.
“These efforts have resulted in an acceptance by Mr Gayle of the need to issue the statement…” Patterson said.
“This was received by the CTC and shared with the CPL and CWI to the satisfaction of all parties. Given the assurance of Mr Gayle to act in good faith, it therefore is no longer necessary to empanel a tribunal.
“The CTC, the CPL, and CWI therefore consider the matter closed.”
In a series of Youtube videos last month, Gayle launched a scathing attack on Sarwan, accusing the Tallawahs coach and former West Indies captain of “vindictiveness” and playing a key role in his abrupt, recent departure from the Kingston-based franchise.
Gayle, himself a former West Indies captain, also lashed out at the Tallawahs franchise, charging it’s been “playing games” with him.
In an interview last week, CWI President Ricky Skerritt described Gayle’s outburst as “unfortunate” and hinted he could face disciplinary action from the CPL.
Sarwan, who served as a member of Tallawahs management last season, dismissed Gayle’s statements as “scandalous allegations” and said he hoped the player’s actions would not result in “irreparable damage to the unity and brotherhood which cricket has forged across the West Indies”.
Gayle is the most successful batsman in the history of T20s with 13,000 runs and 22 hundreds to his name.
He will turn out for St Lucia Zouks in this year’s CPL scheduled for August 19 to September 26.