Chris Gayle departed the Mzansi Super League in a whirlwind of thunderous hitting followed by a volley of highly-charged statements. Photo: BackpagePix
Chris Gayle departed the Mzansi Super League in a whirlwind of thunderous hitting followed by a volley of highly-charged statements, but according to a senior official with the Jozi Stars, he was not - as he sought to claim - a burden on the franchise.

Jono Leaf-Wright, the chief executive of Central Gauteng Cricket which oversees the Stars in the MSL, said Gayle, like everyone else associated with the franchise, was bitterly disappointed with the bad start the team has made this year in defending their title.

The Stars are still to register a win after six matches and suffered an embarrassing meltdown at the Wanderers on Sunday when they lost to provincial neighbours the Tshwane Spartans by 20 runs.

The Stars lost their last eight wickets for 22 runs in 35 balls after Gayle had produced his best performance in what was his final match in the tournament, scoring 54 off 27 balls.

He then launched a furious verbal attack afterwards, claiming he’d been made to feel as if the Stars’ problems were all his fault.

“Let me make this clear, there is always pressure, and when I don’t perform for two or three games, then it’s, ‘Chris Gayle is the burden for the team’. I’m not talking about this team only,” Gayle said on Sunday.

Yesterday Leaf-Wright, who claims to be very close to Gayle, said the big Jamaican was used to dealing with big expectations.

“In Chris’s head, he feels that when he doesn’t perform, because there are such expectations, from the franchise, the fans, that he’s the reason the team is not performing.

“I know Chris well, he’s seems like he’s the big character, lots of bravado, the swag and all that stuff but he’s actually a sensitive guy, and unfortunately, when he doesn’t perform he really takes it to heart. He’s certainly no burden on our side.”

Gayle also asserted that the same spirit that existed in the Stars dressing-room last year, was absent this season and Leaf-Wright thinks he knows why.

“As manager last year I looked after Chris personally. Maybe he just hasn’t had the same attention and TLC that maybe I gave him last year because of my relationship with him.”

Whatever Gayle’s feelings, and despite only the one score of substance in six matches this season, Leaf-Wright has been happy with Gayle’s contribution for the Stars.

Gayle’s spot in the Stars squad will be taken by Pakistan veteran Shoaib Malik.

The Stars’ next match is against the Paarl Rocks at the Wanderers on Sunday.


The Star

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