Flashback: Chris Gayle, left, and Ramnaresh Sarwan in happier times.

Jamaica Tallawahs assistant coach and former West Indies middle-order batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan has responded to serious allegations made by opener Chris Gayle during an outburst on Youtube on Wednesday.

Gayle, disappointed at not being retained by the Jamaica Tallawahs for the 2020 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) broadsided Sarwan during the video.

In a scathing attack on Sarwan, Gayle accused the 39-year-old of playing a role in his departure. “What transpired with the Tallahwahs, you had a big part to play in this,” the big hitter charged in part two of the Breakdown of Release from Jamaica Tallawahs videos as he directed his comments to Sarwan. You want the franchise, have it. There’s no Gayle. You run the show.”

Sarwan in response said: “I was the focus of most of the onslaughts. I reply, not because I feel that Gayle’s rantings are worthy of it, but because I feel that the public’s record must be set straight and also, to protect the character and careers of so many people, whose image he sought to besmirch.

“No doubt, Gayle’s utterances have done immeasurable damage to the “gentleman’s game” of cricket, in particular, West Indian cricket. As a former International Cricketer, who had the privilege of donning West Indian colours, I feel compelled to speak in defence of this great sport which has unified the Caribbean more than anything else over the past 50 years.

“It is my sincere hope that Gayle’s damnation has not irreparably damaged the unity and brotherhood which cricket has forged across the West Indies. Let me make it abundantly clear, that I have played with Gayle from the inception of my international career and I have always respected him as an extraordinary talent, a colleague, and most importantly, a close friend. Hence, my utter shock by these scandalous allegations. He was welcomed in and is loved by, my immediate family. He has hurt them terribly. Fans will recall, that when Ian Chappell called for Gayle to be banned from international cricket because of remarks he made to a female journalist, I issued a public call for fans to rally around Gayle. I stood up for him on every such occasion. But this missive is not about that.”

Sarwan said, “Gayle refers to an incident as far back as 24 years ago, of which I have no recollection. He claimed that I caused him to be sent home from Barbados during a tour because he was watching television all night in the room which I shared with him. This is a total fabrication. No competent management would remove from a series, a player of Chris’s calibre, on such a trivial allegation. I categorically deny any involvement in the decision or the decision-making process, which led to Gayle’s non-selection to represent the Jamaica Tallawahs in the 2020 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Tournament. In fact, the management of the franchise itself has issued a public statement that “the truth is that this decision was made collectively by the Ownership and Management team which did not include Ramnaresh Sarwan and based purely on business and cricketing reasoning.”

He pointed out, “I have been officially attached to the Jamaica Tallawahs since 2018. I was first offered to play for the side. I refused because I felt that young and upcoming Jamaican and regional talents as well as overseas players, ought to be given that opportunity. I was then offered the position of Head Coach but deferred to Mark O’Donnell, who was with the team several years prior. Instead, I accepted the position of Assistant Coach. In 2019, I was appointed Head Coach. I reached out to Chris and discussed with him, the selection of a team. I did so out of respect for him. In my conversation with Gayle about the team, he informed me that Donovan Miller, a Jamaican and a very close friend of Chris should be appointed Head Coach as he would better understand the culture of the Jamaican players.”

Sarwan revealed, “I conveyed Gayle’s view to the CEO, informing the CEO that I would be happy to step aside for Miller’s appointment given that Chris feels strongly about his appointment. My priority was what would be in the best interest of the team. Gayle is fully aware of the background, yet he accuses me of fighting to be Head Coach.”

The attractive right-handed batsman said he did support the implementation of curfew on the players, which was criticized by Gayle in his outburst.

“I accept full responsibility for my recommending that the team management consider imposing a curfew on players prior to matches. And I stand by that decision. Such restrictions are standard operational procedures in almost every international sport so that when it is time for performance on the field, the players are physically and mentally prepared for the challenges.

“In any event, the curfew was never implemented, so I do not understand why Gayle has made this an issue. I absolutely reject Gayle’s allegation that I encouraged foreign players to disrespect him. I really do not understand how he came to such a conclusion and this simply is not true. My deep concern is that young and upcoming players who regard Gayle as a role model may think that this is an acceptable way of addressing problems that may befall them in their careers.”

He ended, “To the cricketing world and cricketing fans everywhere, more particularly, West Indian cricket fans, all of whom I love and respect dearly, in particular, those in my home country of Guyana and Jamaica who have always supported me throughout my career, I express my deep regret on this unfortunate saga and I hope that it will lower neither Gayle nor I, in their estimation. I thank all those who have conveyed their support to me and rallied around me during this unfortunate turn of events and take the opportunity to wish Chris all the best with his new team and the upcoming CPL.”