The University of the West Indies (UWI) has honored West Indies hard-hitting batsman Chris Gayle for his contribution to cricket.
Gayle, 38, along with fast bowler Patrick Patterson, were given awards by the university during a recent match between a Vice Chancellor’s XI and Bangladesh at Sabina Park, Jamaica on the eve of the first Test.
Patterson was unable to attend the presentation ceremony and his award was collected by former West Indies and Jamaica teammate — and now Bangladesh’s bowling coach — Courtney Walsh.
Gayle has joined other West Indies players who have also been honored for their contributions, include legends Sir Viv Richards, Michael Holding, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Andy Roberts, Curtly Ambrose and Walsh.
In 2017 the award was presented to veteran West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul in St. Kitts during play against the touring England team.
The Chancellor XI, which was enjoying its 19th staging, is held annually against touring Test teams.
Dr. Akshai Mansingh, dean of the Faculty of Sports at UWI, said the selection of Gayle and Patterson was handpicked by Vice-Chancellor, Sir Hilary Beckles, this year.
Gayle said he always feel privileged and thankful whenever “you get these accolades.”
Commenting on the initiative, Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, who was the initial project-leader of the Vice-Chancellor’s XI Match 19 years ago, and is wholly committed to the rebuilding of cricket and the advancement of Caribbean sport development, said, “Once again The UWI takes the opportunity of working with Cricket West Indies to celebrate the excellence of the peoples’ culture. We celebrate Mr Gayle, ‘World boss’ and living legend for his phenomenal productivity and creative performances. We honour Mr Patterson for the spark of brilliance he ignited in our cricket with his explosive genius. We uplift him this day and every day and hope to restore some of that which he gave us.”
Dr. Mansingh added further, “The Vice Chancellor’s XI matches have been integral in exposing young talent to international teams over the years. With the advent of a Faculty of Sport, we will build on this sort of initiative with developmental and talent search programmes in the region.”
Another special feature of the 2018 Vice-Chancellor’s XI Match will be the launch of The UWI Faculty of Sport’s “Pace Like Fire” initiative—a community outreach programme geared towards youth, between the ages of 16 and 22, with raw pace. Beginning Aug. 8, a scouting team will embark on a regional tour to identify 15 players (10 males, 5 females). The players will be the beneficiaries of a comprehensive high performance programme at the Sagicor UWI Cricket High Performance Centre at The UWI Cave Hill Campus, for two years, to hone their talents. The University sees this exciting talent identification programme as part of its responsiveness to the needs of the cricketing region, and to advancing the West Indies’ journey back to the top of world cricket through the emergence of quality pace bowlers.
Pace Like Fire 2018 bowls off in Trinidad and Tobago from Aug. 8-12 then moves to Guyana from Aug. 12-16; St. Lucia from Aug. 16-19; St .Kitts and Nevis from Aug. 19-23, Jamaica from Aug. 24-30; and concludes in Barbados from Sept. 3-5.