FORMER West Indies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan will not be the assistant coach of the Jamaica Tallawahs for the 2020 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 tournament after being granted personal leave to travel to his home country of Guyana.
Sarwan was seen in a photograph on social media with new Guyanese president Irfaan Ali. Ali was the presidential candidate for the People’s Progressive Party/Civic during the recent elections, and was sworn in on August 2. Sarwan, the former Guyanese and West Indies cricketer, left the Tallawahs franchise last Thursday.
In an interview with Newsday, Tallawahs CEO Jeff Miller said, “No he (Sarwan) is not part of us this year.”
Sarwan will be replaced by former West Indies spinner Ryan Austin. The Trinidad-born Austin played 74 First Class matches for Barbados and the Combined Colleges and Campuses (CCC).
“Mr Sarwan requested a leave for personal reasons and that was granted,” Miller said.
The overseas players and offcials of the six CPL franchises have been in quarantine at the Hilton Hotel, St Ann's for the past week leading up to the start of the tournament on August 18. The entire tournament will be played in Trinidad to limit the amount of travelling done by players during the covid19 pandemic.
Miller knows Sarwan will be missed because of his wealth of experience, but is confident in the franchise’s chances this season.
“Yes it’s a big loss," said Miller. "Sars (Sarwan) brings a lot to the game - his knowledge, his experience and the way he has dealt with the players over the years, so it is a great loss.
“We are going to look to move forward. This is a rebuilding year for us, (but) I don’t just want to say rebuilding. We here to win the tournament. I think we have a great team and the guys are keen and ready to go and let’s see at the end what happens, but we definitely looking forward to having a great tournament this year.”
Miller said the players are focused on the tournament despite the off-field distractions in recent months.
In April, former Tallawahs captain Chris Gayle went on a rant on Youtube after being released by the franchise. Gayle gave reasons why he thought he was let go by the Tallawahs, which included blaming Sarwan. However, Sarwan denied having anything to do with Gayle’s release.
“That is behind us. We have 12 new players on our franchise this year from last year so there is no baggage from last year. We are focused this year and the guys are focused on CPL not what happened in the past,” Miller said.
Gayle claimed that Sarwan wanted to be the head coach instead of Donovan Miller. Gayle said he was honest with Sarwan, as he informed the former right-handed batsman that he has no experience being a head coach and it is not an easy job. Gayle said Sarwan was upset by his opinion and held that against him when Miller (D) was selected as head coach.
Gayle also claimed the decision to release him from the team was political. The hard-hitting Jamaican was invited by the People’s National Congress Reform in Guyana to visit a community. Gayle said Tallawahs owner Kris Persaud is an affiliate of another political party in Guyana, therefore Gayle’s visit ruffled some feathers.
Gayle, who believes Persaud was influenced to get rid of him, said the owner and Sarwan share a close relationship.
The Tallawahs said the franchise is not involved in politics.
The Tallawahs also said the ownership and management of the team, which did not include Sarwan, decided to release Gayle because of business and cricketing reasoning.
Some of the players expected to lead from the front for the Tallawahs in the 2020 edition are appointed captain Rovman Powell, ex-WI T20 skipper Carlos Brathwaite, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas, Chadwick Walton, Jermaine Blackwood and New Zealand's Glenn Phillips.