Thursday, April 18, 2024

CPL launched to fanfare

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The Caribbean’s biggest cricket party is just five months away.
Before some of the biggest names in cricket in the region and amidst a carnival-like atmosphere, the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) was officially launched at the Sandy Lane Country Club Tuesday night.
With West Indies cricket legends Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Everton Weekes, Sir Wes Hall, Clive Lloyd, Desmond Haynes, and Joel Garner, among others, in the high-profile audience, which also included president of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Julian Hunte and chief executive officer Michael Muirhead, details of the lucrative T20 tournament were revealed in a ceremony that was also streamed live around the world.
The month-long competition, a collaboration between the WICB and Verus International, starts on July 29 and runs until August 26, and will feature 32 matches being played across six franchise islands and involving six franchise teams.
Although negotiations are still to be finalized, the six islands being targeted are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.
In addition, the names of the six franchise players were also revealed: Chris Gayle, Darren Sammy, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Marlon Samuels and Sunil Narine. Six international players are also set to become franchise players.
Such was the atmosphere that after the names of the franchise players were revealed, fireworks decorated the sky in a mesmerizing display, dazzling onlookers.
Dirk Hall, managing director of Verus International, said every franchise would contract 15 players, with a maximum of four overseas signings.
Of the regional players, at least six must be from the franchise country (in the case of St Lucia, locals would include players from the Windwards Islands and in the case of Antigua, players from the Leeward Islands) and four must be Under-23 players.
Ajmal Khan, founder and chairman of the CPL, said the Caribbean was known for its unique party atmosphere and its tremendous cricketing talents.
And with the regional side being the current World Twenty20 champions, Khan believed all eyes would be on the Caribbean come July, noting the CPL would “showcase the beauty and talent of the Caribbean to the world”.
“The best cricketers that the West Indies has to offer playing alongside their international counterparts, coupled with celebrity appeal from Hollywood, Bollywood and local and international music talent with the carnival atmosphere for which the Caribbean is world renowned and indeed envied, is sure to draw the attention of current and new cricket fans across the globe,” Khan said.
Hunte praised the concept of the CPL, stressing that cricketers in the region were in a prime position to benefit both financially and from a cricketing perspective.
He said the competition had been a dream of the WICB for years, and it was particularly exciting to see it finally come to fruition.
“The CPL has been a dream of West Indies cricket for years, and we are now in touching distance of this dream becoming a reality before the eyes of cricket fans in the Caribbean and around the world. Players will now have opportunities like they have not had before.
“They will have greater financial stability and they will have a global platform on which to display their skills and expertise,” Hunte added.

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