The inaugural Caribbean Premier League tournament is a couple of months away and officials recently concluded a tour of the six franchise countries – Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago – meeting with government ministers of sports and tourism, cricket board executives, stadium management, owners and tourism authorities.
The task of keeping the relevant parties in each franchise country informed about and satisfied with the preparations as it relates to their country and the overall tournament is CPL’s newly-appointed operations manager Carlisle Powell, a senator from Nevis and father of West Indies batsman Kieran Powell.
The inaugural Caribbean Premier League begins 30 July with 24 matches played in the six franchise countries.
Six top West Indies stars have been confirmed as franchise players, including Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels. Also confirmed are six overseas franchise players, including former Australia captains Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting, ex-New Zealand captain Ross Taylor, Pakistan Twenty20 International captain Mohammad Hafeez, Herschelle Gibbs of South Africa and Sri Lanka spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan.
Carlisle Powell is also a former minister of communications, works, utilities, physical planning, natural resources and environment in Nevis and a past member of the West Indies Cricket Board. He has years of political diplomacy experience as well considerable contacts in the cricket community.
Powell said the meetings in all of the countries have been positive and encouraging and that the excitement has started to build.
“The opportunity to sit down with each of these groups in the six franchise countries was imperative because we wanted to make sure we answered the questions, and addressed any concerns they had,” Powell said. “Once we did that, everyone had a greater understanding of the CPL vision, what we hope to accomplish and the benefits to their country specifically and the region in general.
“The result was that the governments, the cricket boards and the tourism boards are all pleased to give their full support to the CPL and are excited about the prospects of a first-class sporting event being hosted annually in the region, bringing a much needed economic boost to the Caribbean and attracting new and repeat visitors.”
Powell added that the general response from the country heads and boards was that of a desire to cooperate however they could, and do what is necessary to ensure the tournament’s success.
The CEO of the CPL is Damien O’Donohoe, who said, “Our goal is to keep the countries abreast of as much of the planning surrounding the tournament as possible.
“After all, they have demonstrated their hospitality by welcoming us into their jurisdiction, opening their grounds to us and allowing us to utilise the valuable resources that they have. We are eager to reciprocate.”
In Guyana, Powell had appointments with the Ministers of Tourism and Sport Mohamed Irfaan Ali and Dr. Frank Anthony.
Ali said: “CPL is an amazing opportunity to use sport as a catalyst to advance the region’s tourism product since CPL will give us access to reach important global markets.”