On a podcast named The Cricket Badger, former Australian, South Australian and Sydney Thunder batsman Mark Cosgrove revealed how Chris Gayle’s laidback attitude and relaxed philosophy towards training sessions forced Sydney Thunder, the then Big Bash League team Gayle was playing for, to change their practice timings to ensure his presence.
Cosgrove, who has 3112 runs in 139 T20 matches, said, “We had him at Sydney Thunder for a couple of years and he was really good. He was awesome to be around and his laid back attitude was quite funny at some stage. We had to train in the afternoon because every time we would train in the morning, he would just sleep so we changed our training to the afternoon so he’d train with us.”
Although Gayle has been touted as many as the best T20 batsman of all time, with well over 10,000 runs and 22 hundreds to his name, Gayle did not have successful campaigns in the Big Bash League with Sydney Thunder in the first two seasons of the T20 League. The Thunder finished last both times, losing all their matches in the 2012/13 edition.
Apparently, Gayle cost the Thunder more than a quarter of their $1 million salary cap, while Gayle partied in Sydney, stayed in superior accommodation to his teammates and occasionally chipped in with a few runs during those two seasons.
So, when Gayle pushed for a contract for the 2013/14 season, rejecting his advances was a simple decision for Nick Cummins, general manager of the Thunder, who was appointed to create a more balanced and positive team environment.
Cummins was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph, “Part of the problem previously was the distortion created by the disproportionate payments to certain players at the birth of the club. The consequence of that is if you’re paying some players a lot of money, you’re left with a long tail of players not paid very much, so it’s very hard to have a balanced squad. Now we’re at a point where we’ve got a core of eight or nine players paid very well, but paid much more evenly than perhaps what we had before. The thing with Chris is that we never even got to the point of talking about numbers, so I don’t know whether he wanted to be on a similar rate to what he was at the Thunder the first time around, but had that been the case we wouldn’t have considered that because we’re looking at a much more balanced approach.”