Damien O’Donohoe, Chief Executive Officer of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), believes that this year’s competition will be the biggest and best yet as the biggest party in sport welcomes some of the most illustrious names in world cricket and breaks new ground with an historic leg of matches in Lauderhill, Florida.
Speaking at the launch of this year’s competition in Harvard Cricket Club, Port of Spain on Sunday, O’Donohoe was joined by members of the reigning champions Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) – coach Simon Helmot, Kevon Cooper, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Hamza Tariq – to participate in a ceremony, hosted by Digicel, to acknowledge the efforts of the prestigious club.
Dwayne Bravo’s Trinbago Knight Riders will start their defence of the CPL title against the West Indies’ World T20 winning captain Darren Sammy’s St. Lucia Zouks at Queen’s Park Oval on Wednesday night (21:00 hrs start).
Following the ceremony, Mr O’Donohoe addressed the assembled media and said that the future of CPL is in good hands as the internationally renowned competition bids to extend its reach, both locally and globally in the weeks ahead.
“The CPL continues to grow at a fast pace and we are hugely excited about the forthcoming campaign. Over the close season the team has worked hard to help deliver an outstanding product for our incredibly loyal supporters across all six teams. And with a new territory opening up in Lauderhill, Florida from 28-31 July, these are exciting times for the growth of cricket in the West Indies.
“This year will be the most evenly-matched tournament that we’ve ever had. All six teams have recruited strongly across the international markets as well as in the West Indies’ own thriving domestic competitions. With the introduction of the six ‘marquee’ players – AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum, Kumar Sangakkara and Shane Watson – in each of the franchises, it will undoubtedly add another dimension to the competitiveness and quality of cricket on show.
“It is fitting that today’s event was held in Harvard Cricket Club which is a real heartland of youth cricket in Port of Spain. A major facet of CPL’s vision is to develop youth cricket and make the sport more accessible, engaging and inspirational for young supporters.
“After the heroics of the West Indies men’s, women’s and Under-19 world title winning squads in recent months, it is a golden era for cricket in the Caribbean and I have no doubt that the future of the game is in good hands. Each of our six teams will include an Under-19 representative, reaffirming our commitment to encouraging up-and-coming talent, while the addition of the ICC Americas representatives will also help extend CPL’s reach across North America.
“Ahead of the fourth instalment of CPL, I would like to thank all of our sponsors for their tremendous backing. Special thanks to our title sponsors Hero MotoCorp, Digicel who have been wonderful supporters of West Indies cricket for many years, and all of our affiliated partners. Without their support and financial backing, the CPL could not hope to have the same profile or stature.
“In the 2015 season over 90 million people watched the CPL from all four corners of the world and over 300,000 fans came through the turnstiles to show their colours to support their teams. We are delighted that our matches will be viewed across more lands than ever before, with One World Sports (USA), Sony (India), Dave / UKTV (UK), Sky (New Zealand), Fox Sports (Australia), EcoNet / KweseTV (sub-Saharan Africa) and OSN (Middle East) showcasing the CPL to our growing international audience.
“CPL, as we know, is the biggest party in sport. It’s ‘Cricket Played Louder’ and, more than that, we see this great tournament as a means of showcasing and celebrating all that is positive about Caribbean culture; from sport to music, to the tourism and the rich history which makes the Caribbean such a popular destination. This year we hope to grow even further and we invite as many fans as possible to come and join us on our journey.”