Cricket fans in the Caribbean now have an even bigger 20-over competition to savour.
The Caribbean Premier League is a T20 tournament that will showcase the beauty and talent of the region to the world.
The best cricketers that the West Indies has to offer will play alongside their international counterparts, coupled with the carnival atmosphere for which the Caribbean is renowned.
The tournament begins on Monday, 29 July and ends on Monday, 26 August, with 32 matches seen by audiences globally.
The league will have six franchise countries, with six franchise teams. The countries with whom they are negotiating are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.
Matches will be played in the franchise countries. Other countries that may stage games include St. Kitts, St. Vincent, Dominica and Grenada.
The Grand Cayman-based company Kelly Holding Ltd comprising of Rhonda Kelly, Laurie-Ann Holding and Bev Sinclair are the event managers for the Caribbean Premier League. They will manage the media accreditation system.
The Caribbean Premier League has chosen the top six players in the region based on their statistics and performances and contracted each of them to be the franchise players for each team, ensuring that each team is bolstered by a talented, top West Indies player. They are Chris Gayle, Darren Sammy, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Marlon Samuels and Sunil Narine.
Financier Ajmal Khan, founder and chairman of the Caribbean Premier League, said: “The league will 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.
“We’re going to make sure that all eyes are on the shores of the Caribbean in July and August.”
Dr. Julian Hunte, president of the West Indies Cricket Board, said: “The board is particularly pleased about the opportunities the CPL will provide to players, but is equally elated with the agreement which will allow for regional retainer contracts for a broad pool of players.
“These contracts will be funded by the CPL to the tune of $300,000 annually. This significant investment will truly allow for cricketers in the Caribbean to pursue their profession.
“The CPL will bring direct and indirect economic and social benefits to every country in which it is involved and in neighbouring countries.
“It will augment, in a major way our already world renowned tourism product. The benefits will extend even further. The CPL will transform the landscape of the region and take it into a new dimension.”
In addition to the retainer contracts, league officials also outlined other ways the tournament will ensure regional players will benefit when they outlined the makeup of the six franchise teams, explaining that each team will have 15 players, at least six of whom must be local players from that franchise country.
In addition, at least four of the players must be under age 23. The remainder of the team must consist of regional and/or local players and a maximum of four international players.
In the case of St. Lucia, locals are deemed to be any players from the Windward Islands and cricketers from any of the Leeward Islands can be considered local players for Antigua.