– each team to retain 4 players
The largest sporting event in the Caribbean, the auspicious Caribbean Premier League (CPL) will begin from August 21 this year, with the first match set to bowl off in Trinidad.
In an exclusive interview with this media group, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of CPL, Pete Russell revealed that Guyana would host its first match on August 22 at the National Stadium Providence.
Russell disclosed that the CPL player draft is the next planned event for CPL that will take place on May 22, two months later than last year, at the familiar venue in London, United Kingdom.
In 2018, the draft took place at Gfinity eSports Arena in London on March 1, 2018.
The COO explained that the UK would be a place of interest during May, with the International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket World Cup taking shape from May 30, in the United Kingdom.
The rules of the players draft will be different this season, with a team having the advantage of retaining only four players.
The 2019 CPL draft is expected to be of more interest with teams vying to retain their best players; Russell and the CPL management were impressed with the performances of the emerging talents that the 2018 CPL produced, especially the young players in Guyana, in Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Sherfane Rutherford.
Owing to the superior quality shown by the players in the Caribbean, Russell disclosed that teams in CPL 2019 will have only four overseas players per team. The CPL management and the Cricket West Indies (CWI) are working cohesively to introduce an “elite 12”, which includes young players from the Caribbean that are yet to announce themselves on the international arena.
Russell told this publication that these 12 players will play for different teams across the CPL; this will aid in the development of cricket in the West Indies.
In the 2018 CPL draft, a total of 227 overseas players were listed and 121 West Indian players were listed.
The 2019 CPL draft will see more exciting West Indian players listed. The draft will be modelled after the familiar Indian Premier League’s where the teams are allowed to retain four of their own players from last season.
The four retained players will not be included in the draft, but their draft price may alter.
The CPL window period has shifted owing to the ICC schedule, and the CPL is aiming to facilitate all West Indian players. With India scheduled to tour the West Indies later this year, CPL is seeking to accommodate all the Windies players to meet the needs of the cricket fans.
More matches are expected to take place at the Caribbean venues, but matches in Florida are still on the cards, as the CPL has diversified its cricket in recent seasons, introducing “the biggest party in sport” to the United States of America.
Meanwhile, Russell told this publication that the Jamaica Tallawahs will remain on the CPL agenda. “Jamaica is a power-house and we want the fans to witness them in CPL 2019,” Russell stated.
Over the past years, CPL fans have been buzzing about Indian players to feature in CPL; Russell was precise in his response, stating that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has a strict commercial product in the IPL and Indian players will not be featured in CPL.
It remains on the CPL wish list to meet the fans’ needs and include the likes of Virat Kohli, but it remains the reality that Indian players are not permitted to play other T20 leagues, including CPL.
Russell thanked the Guyanese fans for their continuous support over the past years, stating “CPL will not be the same without the Guyanese fans”.
The 2019 CPL is expected be a record-breaking event and it will continue to improve as the years progress. (Brandon Corlette)