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October 27, 2012
Star Sport


 

Lucas saved me

Gayle could have ended up on the streets were it not for cricket club

Jermaine Lannaman, Star Writer

West Indies batting star Chris Gayle has hailed the influence of local cricket club Lucas on his development, admitting that things could have turned out much differently for him had it not been for those formative years.

"If it was not for Lucas I don't know where I would be today. Maybe on the streets," Gayle told a gathering at the club yesterday, who were on hand as he attended a ceremony to open a cricket nursery named in his honour.

"I feel proud and honoured that years after creeping through holes in the (perimetre) wall, running around and learning the game, I am back here and a nursery is being named after me."

Gayle, who started representing the club a tender age, could be seen wiping tears from his cheeks while giving a thank you speech in front of the club's officials, family, friends, well-wishers, and the media.

"I want to thank each and everyone who made this day possible. It really, really means a lot to me," said Gayle, his voice cracking up all the time.

The nursery, located at the northern end of the venue, is equipped with two concrete practice pitches, and clay pitch, and, according to the club, plans are afoot to have it upgraded in years.

"It is good to see someone like Gayle coming back to where it all began for him as an honouree," said Jamaica Cricket Association president Lyndel Wright.

"It's a good gesture and one that other cricket clubs and other national players should follow, as giving back is one of the ways that our cricket will continue to grow and prosper."

Fruition

Lucas president Oneil Cruickshank, who along with long-standing member Brian Breese were instrumental in the nursery coming to fruition, said the occasion was long in coming and now that it is it means a lot to the club.

"Lucas is on the rebuild, and with events like this, the recent unveiling of a bust of George Headley, and general refurbishment activities, it augurs well for the future," said Cruickshank.

"We also hope that it (the nursery) will be a motivation for young and upcoming talent players to train and hone their skills, and who knows maybe one day we may be able to produce another Chris Gayle."

Gayle, in the meantime, who along with Wright unveiled a pictured signboard titled The Chris Gayle Nursery, took the occasion to highlight plans he has to help the club regain its former glory.

He said he plans to donate gear and equipment, as well as help with renovations, and whenever he is in Jamaica he plans to participate in various club activities.

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