Chris Gayle's disparaging remarks against his former franchise Jamaica Tallawahs in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) is likely to earn him some sort of sanction. Such a sanction, Cricket West Indies president Ricky Skerritt hinted, would be in order because Gayle probably brought "disrepute" to the league, which a contracted player cannot do.
Although the Tallawahs management released a statement that denied calling Gayle's release as purely a business move, the CPL has remained quiet. On Tuesday, the CPL was asked for a comment by ESPNcricinfo on whether it was deliberating on penalising Gayle, but there was no response.
Last month Gayle had expressed his dismay at the Tallawahs releasing him without having informed him in an outburst on YouTube. In the video, split across four segments, Gayle singled out the franchise chief executive Jeff Miller and owner Krish Persaud for "playing a game". He also hauled up former West Indies team-mate Ramnaresh Sarwan, who is Tallawahs' assistant coach, for being responsible for his release. Calling Sarwan a "snake" and "very deceitful and very disrespectful", Gayle told the Guyanese he was "no friends" anymore with him.
Sarwan called Gayle's allegations both "false" and "scandalous" and said he had no hand to play in the Jamaican being released by the Tallawahs.
Skerritt viewed the entire controversy as "interpersonal battles" between individuals being played out publicly. "It cannot be good for West Indies cricket obviously. It is certainly not something that I enjoyed reading about," Skerritt told i955fm, a Trinidad-based radio station, last week.
However Skerritt said Gayle was answerable to the CPL only because he had a contract which clearly stated a player cannot bring the league into disrepute. Gayle, Skerritt said, would have been spared were he a retired player, voicing criticism as an outsider.
"If however, a player is contracted to a club or a franchise or to Cricket West Indies, then (due to) the contract they have signed, that kind of behaviour brings that contract to some level of disrepute. So I would expect that this most recent matter is not over.
"But my point is I think Chris is going to face…I'm sure there's some kind of discussion taking place at the moment between Chris and the CPL because Chris is signed into a franchise team."
Skerritt pointed out that although CPL is an independent league, CWI did have a "watching interest" in how the league dealt with the Gayle episode. "If he was on contract with Cricket West Indies, and to a certain extent it is by being in the CPL, so we kind of have a watching interest. But we'll wait and see what happens.
"Look, am not condoning Chris, am not judging Chris. Chris clearly has a number of concerns on his mind and he decided to go public. Personally I think that was unfortunate, but the process will have to take its course and that process will get triggered because he is a contracted player in the CPL within the West Indies league."
The main reason behind Gayle's outburst was that he had rejoined the Tallawahs in 2019 on a three-year contract with the intention of finishing his career in his home country, Jamaica. Skerritt hoped Gayle's career would not end abruptly on a controversial note. "I hope it doesn't become a world matter in terms of the career of Mr Gayle because it's been a very outstanding career and I really wouldn't want to see it being brought to an end by this event."
Incidentally, back in the 1990s when Gayle and Sarwan were just starting their careers, Skerritt had watched them closely as West Indies' team manager. "What has happened most recently is obviously something that to me does not reflect the Chris Gayle that I have known for many, many years. I happened to have been fortunate to be around Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Wavell Hinds, Ronnie Sarwan when they were just starting out their careers. These are guys who are all great lovers of cricket. They really loved the idea of putting on the maroon colours and along the way things have happened.
"I am not a psychologist nor am I a historian, all I can tell you (it is) very disappointing to see players who were such great team-mates, who had played so well together at times, carried the West Indies pride on their back that these kind of exchanges have taken place."
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo