'Spoken from the heart': Gayle admits 'damaging' Sarwan virus comments
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London (AFP) –
Flamboyant batsman Chris Gayle said Friday he "stood by his comments" over feelings of resentment at his exit from the Jamaica Tallawahs team in the Caribbean Premier League.
However, he admitted that his description of former West Indies teammate Ramnaresh Sarwan as "worse than the coronavirus" were "damaging".
Gayle, 40, was released by Twenty20 franchise the Tallawahs last month and the big-hitting opener held assistant coach Sarwan responsible during a remarkable 15-minute video posted on his YouTube channel.
"Right now Sarwan, you are worse than the coronavirus," said Gayle.
"You are a snake, you are so vindictive still immature, still stabbing people in the back."
After being summoned to explain his comments, Gayle attempted Friday to draw a line under the controversy.
"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," he said in a statement.
"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."
Gayle, however, admitted that such remarks "may be viewed as being damaging to Cricket West Indies, and to the CPL Tournament and its brand.
"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."
Veteran left-hander Gayle, who has since joined the St Lucia Zouks for this year's edition of the CPL starting in August, led the Tallahwahs to the title in 2013 and 2016.
Then, after a spell with the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots, the Jamaican rejoined the franchise last year.
Although Gayle scored 116 in his second game back, he managed only 243 runs in 10 innings as the Tallawahs finished bottom of the table.
Gayle spent much of his Test career in the same West Indies side as fellow batsman Sarwan who retired from international duty in 2016.
The self-styled 'Universe Boss', Gayle has not played for the West Indies since last year's World Cup.
© 2020 AFP