By Brandon Corlette
The 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) has had a ground-breaking season for the Caribbean players who have stepped up to the plate.
With the T20 World Cup set for October next year, and more importantly, Afghanistan and Ireland series are looming, the calypso boys will be aiming to make the cut for West Indies selection.
Brandon King and Hayden Walsh Jr are the names that come to mind; the duo lead the respective Hero CPL charts. King, who recorded the highest individual score in CPL history, has 453 runs in 11 matches. With a high score of 132*, the clean striker of the ball has an astonishing average of 56.62 and a strike rate of 151.
In the bowling department, Walsh sits at the summit with 19 wickets with the only five-wicket haul this season. Capturing a career best 5-19, the Tridents leg-spinner, who played only seven matches, has a superb bowling average of 11.73 and a stunning strike rate of 8.7 with an economy rate of 8.
Reflecting on the 2018 CPL, Colin Munro and Glenn Phillips, who have been among the runs for successive seasons, topped the batting charts last season. Munro ended CPL 2018 with 567 runs and Phillips scored 457. Guyana Amazon Warriors (GAW) batting sensation Shimron Hetmyer had scored 440 runs in 2018.
This season, more Caribbean batsmen have been among the runs. After King’s 453 runs this season, the veteran Lendl Simmons has 429 runs in 10 innings. The reliable Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) batsman has five half-centuries, averaging 42.9 with a high score of 90.
Other Caribbean batsmen dominating the batting charts are Johnson Charles (341) and Kieron Pollard (326). The youngsters have also been in peak form: Chandrapaul Hemraj has 298 runs, Evin Lewis had scored 265 and Rahkeem Cornwall had scored 254 for St Lucia Zouks. Hetmyer and Munro who dominated the 2018 season have 215 runs this 2019 season.
Other impressive innings came from West Indies batting sensation Nicholas Pooran, who once more displayed the art of hitting clean sixes. His Guyana Amazon Warriors teammate, Sherfane Rutherford has also been timing the ball cleanly when given the opportunity. GAW spin kings, Imran Tahir (15) and Chris Green (13) are behind Walsh in terms of wickets.
Jason Holder leads the fast-bowling charts with 13 wickets while the ever-consistent Romario Shepherd has 12 wickets. Sheldon Cottrell, Kesrick Williams and Rayad Emrit have 12 wickets each this season. In contrast, in the 2018 season, leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed, who represented TKR, bagged 22 wickets and Oshane Thomas was the leading Caribbean bowler with 18 wickets.
With the West Indies returning to the international stage from November 5 against Afghanistan, some of these outstanding players should make the cut. The West Indies will play Afghanistan in India; the tour will feature three T20 Internationals and three One-Day Internationals. It will conclude with the lone Test match commencing from November 27, 2019.