Under threat

Captain Peter Short
Captain Peter Short

Former President of the Barbados Cricket Association and West Indies Cricket Board, Captain Peter Short, is not convinced the format of the imminent Caribbean Premier League is the best for the region and fans of the game.

Captain Short, who served as BCA president from 1973 to 1993, and WICB head from 1994 to 1996, said he would not presume to know all the finer details being worked out with respect to the CPL but suggested that the stated format could put a damper on inter-territorial rivalry and identification of spectators with specific teams that generated the interest and competitive edge of regional cricket.

Short told Barbados TODAY that change was part of life but noted that the success of previous regional tournaments was the fact that the various islands supported their home players and rooted for teams which were made up of players that were part of their domestic environment.

“We could be treading dangerous waters with the format and it could become a bit of a mess. I am wondering if the organisers did any research on this going forward and are basing their strategy on that research,” Short said, stressing he had no problem with the idea of having another regional tournament.

But the retired administrator advised it might have been better to maintain the individual territorial teams with which regional fans could identify, and then boost those teams with international stars.

He said the advantage other countries staging Twenty20 tournaments had, was that they were one land mass, with players representing state teams with which fans identified. Short said teams in the Big Bash and the Indian Premier League and others, were then strengthened with the inclusion of international franchise players.

But he noted the core base of the state teams remained identifiable to fans.

The Caribbean Premier League, the inaugural edition of which is set to begin†on July 29, will include six franchises with 90 contracted players in all. Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Sunil Narine, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy and Kieron Pollard have been named ‘franchise players’. Each of these icon players will turn out for one of the six teams, which are likely to be from Antigua, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The CPL is looking to rope in six international ‘franchise players’, one for each franchise. Every franchise will contract 15 players in all, 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 will include players from the Windward Islands and the in case of Antigua, players from the Leeward Islands) and four must be under-23 players. Apart from the appointed icon players, the rest of the squads will be assembled via a draft system.

Dirk Hall, managing director of Verus International, the driving force behind the CPL, stressed last month that regional icon players would not necessarily represent their country in the league and noted this was to ensure better balance.

Meanwhile it was revealed today that former Australian captain Ricky Ponting†had announced his participation in the CPL, becoming the first international player to be involved in the newly formed T20 league. Presently no decision has been made as to which franchise Ponting will be associated with. This is now Ponting’s fourth international T20 team, as he is already a part of the Mumbai Indians in the IPL, Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League, and Surrey in English county cricket.

“The West Indies has always been one of my favourite cricket destinations,” Ponting said. “The mix of entertainment and cricket is the perfect recipe for West Indian cricket fans, as well as the rest of the world. The format and concept is fantastic, and I am sure it will be a huge success right from the start.” (WG)††

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