Richard Berridge, chief operating officer of the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, says that Chris Gayle can carry the team to glory in next season’s Hero Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament.
Although he would not speak on reasons for Gayle’s move, Berridge describes it as a big boost to the team, having struggled in its previous two seasons in the competition.
“He is probably the best T20 player in the world,” he says.
“Just having him penciled into your line-up is a great bonus, and we all know what he’s capable of.
“His stats say it all. We have high expectations and we know Chris is a hard worker, an excellent cricketer, and an excellent leader. He’ll bring a lot of value to our franchise in and out of cricket.”
The Patriots are expecting corporate entities to want to align themselves with the franchise as Gayle is seen as someone who can attract what Berridge describes as “huge commercial deals”.
He is also expected to create a boost in ticket sales at Warner Park, where the team plays its home matches.
“Having a player like him on board will only help us to increase the exposure of our franchise internationally,” Berridge says.
This leadership Berridge speaks of means that he is already being considered for the role of team captain, although he says it is still dependent on other experienced players the Patriots will look to bring in during the draft early next year.
“He would possibly be our captain. It hasn’t been confirmed. When we select the rest of the team, it more than likely will be him,” Berridge says.
No other names have been confirmed to join Gayle as yet, but the Patriots say they are hoping and expecting to make more signings of a similar quality.
“We will, where we think we need them, whether it’s an all-rounder, bowler, or a batsman, we have another player that we can sign at the second level, which we’re currently deciding on, ” Berridge says.
“We have a few slots that are going to be open in the draft and we have a few guys that are going to be retained – some valuable players who we want to continue to work with.”
He expects the entire league to benefit from the transfer, as he sees more moves being triggered as a result, with not only the Tallawahs trying to replace him, but other teams looking to make signings. This is to ensure they do not get left behind in terms of competitiveness.
Berridge says Jamaican fans, who he thinks will be obviously disappointed to lose a player of Gayle’s quality, should still support him as the tournament is about franchises, rather than nationality. This means fans should feel open to supporting whichever team they wish in the competition, because of the players they like, rather than the countries they [the fans] live in or were born in.