Never say never!
Powell doesn't rule out Tallawahs return
In this file photo, Rovman Powell (right), then captain of Jamaica Tallawahs, hits a four as Andre Fletcher (left) of St Lucia Zouks looks on during the Hero Caribbean Premier League match at Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, Trinidad and Tobago, on August 19, 2020. Story on (Photo: CPL via Getty Images)

While a tension-filled breakdown in contract negotiations led to Rovman Powell departing Jamaica Tallawahs for the 2023 Caribbean Premier League (CPL), the talented cricketer says he doesn't rule out a return to his "home" franchise.

In what was deemed a massive blow to the Tallawahs, the West Indies star who captained the franchise to the 2022 CPL Twenty20 (T20) title, was transferred to last season's losing finalists Barbados Royals in exchange for leg spinner Hayden Walsh.

"I don't think it's goodbye or anything along that line. Once things straighten out, hopefully, I'll be back home," Powell, who spent six seasons with the Tallawahs, said during an exclusive interview with the Jamaica Observer on Monday.

"It's a switch that I didn't want to make, to be honest, but a lot of things happened last year even though we won the championship. I was trying to fix it — it was basically me standing up for players against the Jamaica Tallawahs management and it has caused my departure. I can accept that because as the captain, I should be there for my players, and the support that I garnered from players was tremendous," the 29-year-old all-rounder added.

Rovman Powell, then captain of Jamaica Tallawahs, holds the winners' trophy after the Hero Caribbean Premier League final against Barbados Royals at Providence Stadium in Guyana on September 30, 2022. (Photo: CPL via Getty Images)

The big-hitting batsman, who also bowls handy medium pace, was one of the key performers for the Tallawahs last season, scoring 281 runs in 12 innings at a strike rate of 123.78 and average of 35.12.

There was talk that a strained relationship — which worsened amidst a losing patch during last season's triumphant campaign — between Powell and individuals within the Tallawahs hierarchy, would have triggered his exit.

But thereafter both sides had appeared intent on maintaining the winning formula for the 2023 season until contract negotiations were derailed.

Powell, who became the West Indies T20 skipper in February, declined to comment on what caused the breakdown, but insisted "money was not a factor". was basically me standing up for players against the Jamaica Tallawahs management and it has caused my departure (Photo: CPL via Getty Images)

The Observer understands that the player had found aspects of the new contract offer to be unfavourable, most notably that he would no longer be the franchise's captain.

Powell, who not only expertly guided the Tallawahs but also led Jamaica Scorpions to last season's regional Super50 Cup, is regarded an astute leader on and off the field, and is expected to take over the Royals' captaincy from fellow West Indies player Kyle Mayers in the 2023 CPL.

Powell described the break-up as "unfortunate", while noting the franchise's public fall-outs with previous iconic captains Christopher Gayle and Andre Russell.

However, the Jamaican suggested the blame could be spread across the board.

"It's just unfortunate when you look at the trend of the Jamaica Tallawahs franchise. Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, and now myself, but it's a franchise that I love, it's a franchise that has given me so much so I would not sit here — it's really not in my personality to sit here and just bash the Jamaica Tallawahs franchise. Both as players and as a franchise a lot of mistakes have been made over the years. But I'm going to the Barbados Royals now, so I wish the Tallawahs all the very best," he said.

Powell indicated he is eager to get going with the Barbados franchise, which has ownership ties to Rajasthan Royals in the ultra-lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL).

"I think it's a very good set-up at the Royals. I was offered to join other teams and I decided to join the Royals. They have a good base, they are an IPL franchise, so all of that comes with professionalism, all of that comes with good management, so, hopefully, when I go there as a player I can just impart my little bit on the team and we see how best we can progress as a franchise," he said.

The 2023 CPL is scheduled to run from August 16 to September 24 with matches to be staged in Barbados, Guyana, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.

Sanjay Myers

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