Chris Gayle raises his arms in triumph CPL/Sportsfile

Chris Gayle will return to Jamaica Tallawahs in the CPL after a gap of two seasons. Tallawahs announced Gayle as their marquee player on Saturday for the upcoming season in September-October, with the draft scheduled to take place on May 22.

“We are delighted to have Chris playing for his home team for the 2019 season,” Tallawahs COO Jeff Miller said in a release. “There is no bigger name in Twenty20 cricket, and we can’t wait for him to arrive and make the Jamaican fans proud. We are looking forward to Chris being a big part of our push for a third CPL title.”

Gayle previously led Tallawahs to their two titles in 2013 and 2016, and also top-scored in both those finals against Guyana Amazon Warriors. He left them after the 2016 season to join St Kitts and Nevis Patriots and led them to the final in 2017 and the playoffs in 2018. Returning to his home team now, he will be one of the captaincy options for Tallawahs.

Gayle is the leading run-scorer in CPL with a tally of 2111 and has three centuries in the league, all for Tallawahs. They will be playing five home games at Sabina Park this time, once the tournament starts on September 4, compared to last season when three of the five Tallawahs designated home matches were played in Florida to satisfy an agreement signed by the Tallawahs Florida-based ownership group.

Pete Russell, COO of the CPL, stated at a press conference in Guyana last month that the CPL would not be playing any games in Florida for the 2019 season due to poor attendance. The Tallawahs 2018 matches against Guyana Amazon Warriors and Trinbago Knight Riders drew strong support for the visitors in Florida but not the Tallawahs, which sparked critical comments from captain Andre Russell. The third match played by Tallawahs in Florida against Barbados Tridents only drew 700 people compared to sellout crowds at Sabina Park.

Gayle will be playing the World Cup – after which he is expected to retire from ODIs – having ended the IPL in good form this year. He scored 462 runs in 12 innings at a strike rate of 158.76 and average of 42, with four half-centuries, for Kings XI Punjab.