By Renaldo Matadeen, Trinidad Newsday
CEO of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), Damien O’Donohoe, has revealed that they are still waiting on a formal proposal from the Trinidad and Tobago government in regards to the tender out for hosting the semis and final of the 2016 Hero CPL.
TT Red Steel, now rebranded as Trinbago Knight Riders under new owner Venky Mysore, hosted the knockouts last year as they clinched their first title and O’Donohoe admitted he favoured the twin isle to host once more but no formal progress had been made, with Guyana, Barbados and Florida (USA) also lobbying strongly for the seat-fillers.
“I can’t give you a percentage (of estimation) at the moment right now. I really don’t know. We’re still waiting. I have met with them (TT government) a number of times but I haven’t got a formal offer as yet. I know obviously with the price of oil it is very tough and the government have a really tough job on their hands but I hope they see the opportunity and investment they make and the significant return they get. Let’s keep our fingers crossed because I don’t think there’s anyone to support cricket and make noise like Trinis and Venky saw that when he came over to see what he bought last year,” said the CEO.
O’Donohoe remained optimistic that a deal would be worked out as he believes in “win-win situations” with all governments and further added that CPL continues to have cordial relationships with all Caribbean governments involved.
He added that CPL had shown them the benefits of sport tourism with the viewership growing and the influx of esteemed names such as Brendon McCullum, AB de Villiers and Shane Watson among the few.
O’Donohoe said that this year was shaping up as their biggest with the most eyes on them since inception. He and Mysore pointed to the fact that the Trinbago audience would love to see their team defend the crown at home especially with McCullum and Hashim Amla added to the ranks but also hinted that time would be of the essence in terms of making a formal bid.
He hopes that the quality on tap would expedite the process as both stakeholders continued to laud the cricketing spectacle and presence at the Queen’s Park Oval. O’Donohoe believes the CPL would continue to reignite interest in the game with West Indies also carded for ODI action against Australia and South Africa; and Tests against India around the same time. With respect to the names attached, he also stated that players on West Indian retainer contracts who were not selected in the draft could only enter a franchise if they were available and if the franchise had a player injured.
However, in the absence of Windies stars, he felt the international pull remained incomparable.
“I think there’s no bigger statement than the caliber of players we’ve provided. It’s first-class and shows now we’re one of the top three T20 leagues in the world. It shows our ambition because I remember in our first year, doubters snickering when we outlined our plans. Hopefully we’ve overachieved and we continue to raise the bar. We’re heading to the US, we’ve got West Indies Under-19 players involved and we’re creating jobs in all six economies,” he concluded.