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CPL drafts create buzz

Organisers of the Caribbean Premier League have expressed delight in the regional and international interest and enthusiasm generated by yesterday’s CPL players’ draft in Jamaica.

The CPL social media networks were abuzz as several fans applauded the choices of the team selection panels and others debated the compositions of some of the squads. The CPL website was blown away by hundreds of thousands of visitors which caused a slow down for a short period, showing the mass appeal the CPL will have across the globe.

CPL officials rectified this quickly and populated all the pages on the site with all the players who were selected, so fans could find out their teams in real time. In addition, all of the players have been personally emailed and congratulated on their selection.

“We were overwhelmed by the level of interest in the draft, not only regionally but internationally, evidenced by the huge volume of traffic on our website and social media sites. It’s obvious that the world is eager to see who’s coming to play this summer, and we are looking forward to an exciting tournament now that we know exactly who will be playing on each team,” CPL chief executive officer Damian O’ Donohoe said.

There is a 24-hour window in which teams can make trades among themselves, noted O’Donohoe, and any changes will be announced shortly after they are made.

“Obviously this was our first draft for the Caribbean Premier League and we are pleased to say that the process went extremely well. Each team was well prepared and made very thoughtful, strategic selections but they also enjoyed the experience,” added O’Donohoe.

Team Antigua was represented by West Indies franchise player Marlon Samuels, head coach Sir Vivian Richards and assistant coach Phillip DeFreitas.

Team Barbados’ head coach, Desmond Haynes, and assistant coach Robin Singh were supported by West Indies franchise player Kieron Pollard who also participated via Skype and Barbados CPL media and administration officer Jason Harper.

Guyana franchise player Sunil Narine worked with head coach Roger Harper, assistant coach Curtly Ambrose and Guyana CPL media and administration officer Omar Khan to select their team while Jamaica’s franchise player Chris Gayle and CPL media and administration officer Richard Berridge gave their input to head coach Paul Nixon and assistant coach Junior Bennett. Franchise player Darren Sammy, head coach Andy Roberts and assistant coach Matthew Maynard selected the St. Lucia franchise team and Trinidad & Tobago franchise player Dwayne Bravo worked with head coach Gordon Greenidge, assistant coach David Williams and CPL media and administration officer Colin Borde to choose the Trinidad & Tobago team.

Held at the Half Moon Bay Resort in Montego Bay, the atmosphere in the room was electric. It was a competitive draft, but those selecting their teams were well prepared, making the first event of its kind to ever happen in the Caribbean a real success.

Utilising technology to overcome the fact that the West Indies franchise players were in London at the time of the draft, CPL officials ensured that all were connected to their selection team by skype throughout the draft. All the players were pleased with the ability to be involved every step of the way in their team selection.

Trinidad & Tobago franchise player Dwayne Bravo voiced it best on behalf of all, stating: “I really enjoyed the entire draft process. I can’t wait for the CPL to get started, and I love my team.”

The compilation of the teams followed the rules established prior to the event, ensuring at least two Under- 23 players on each team, that was not an issue for any of the teams, most of the Under 23’s were chosen early in their draft pool and two teams actually have three Under- 23 players, Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados. The seven local player requirement was also easily achieved, with two teams having ten, St. Lucia and Jamaica and two having eight, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago.

The draft also validated clearly the cricket talent that is present in the Caribbean by the selection of all the West Indies players in the first pool, with teams passing on some of the international players that were available. Five of the teams chose only three of the four international players they could have selected for their teams.

Former Jamaica Prime Minister PJ Patterson, Walter Scott, QC and Lance Gibbs of the CPL Cricket Committee oversaw the draft process. Former Jamaican Chief Justice Lensley Wolfe and former PricewaterhouseCoopers senior partner Tony Lewars were appointed by the tournament committee to officiate the proceedings and Raymond Reece acted as tabulator.

Observers included West Indies Cricket Board president Michael Muirhead; Michael Hall, CEO of the West Indies Players Association; O’Donohoe; tournament Committee members Zorol Barthley and Conde Riley; CPL Board members and representatives from CPL major sponsor Digicel. The event was hosted by CPL Event Director Laurie-Ann Holding and IMG’s Michael Fordham. O’Donohoe said that next on the agenda was the announcement of the team names and captains. The inaugural Caribbean Premier League starts on July 30 in Barbados and concludes on August 24 in Trinidad. (PR)

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