Caribbean Premier League officials have revealed the country assignments for the 12 franchise players – six West Indian and six international – and named the six head coaches and assistant coaches.
This makes good on the organisers’ promise to keep the public updated on plans for the Caribbean Premier League inaugural tournament and to ensure a strong Caribbean make up as the momentum builds and the countdown continues to the first ball.
The event was attended by four of the coaches and chaired by CPL Operations Manager Carlisle Powell in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
Powell revealed that Australian Adam Gilchrist – who was contracted as an international franchise player – is unable to participate due to an ankle injury.
International Pool A player Shoaib Malik from Pakistan replaces Gilchrist as an international franchise player for the tournament, which runs from 29 July through 26 August.
Marlon Samuels and Ricky Ponting will play for Antigua; Kieron Pollard and Shoaib Malik will suit up for Barbados; Sunil Narine and Mohammad Hafeez will represent the Guyana franchise; Chris Gayle and Muttiah Muralitharan will play for Jamaica; Darren Sammy and Herschelle Gibbs will sport the St. Lucia colours and Dwayne Bravo and Ross Taylor will head up the Trinidad and Tobago franchise team.
Heading the franchise teams are a cadre of experienced coaches. Antigua will be coached by Sir Vivian Richards, fabled around the world as the most destructive batsman of his era, assisted by former England cricketer, Dominica-born Phillip DeFreitas.
Legendary opening West Indies batsman Desmond Haynes will coach Barbados along with Trinidadian born Robin Singh, who played for India and coached the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.
Guyana will be guided by Guyanese Roger Harper, who coached the West Indies team from 2000 to 2003. Imposing former West Indies fast bowler Curtly Ambrose will work along with Harper.
Former England wicketkeeper/batsman Paul Nixon will coach Jamaica, assisted by Junior Bennett, who has many years experience coaching the Jamaica Under-19 and national teams.
Antiguan former fast bowler Andy Roberts will coach St. Lucia with former England cricketer Matthew Maynard and Trinidad and Tobago will be led by renowned West Indies opening batsman Gordon Greenidge and assisted by Trinidadian coach David Williams.
“As you can tell, the majority of our coaching staff is from the Caribbean, and we are very proud of this fact,” Powell said.
“We recognise that there is a wealth of cricket talent and knowledge in this region and we want to utilise the valuable resources that we have.
“In addition, our international coaches bring many years of expertise and an understanding of West Indies cricket and culture.”
Haynes said: “Speaking on behalf of the other coaches, I am very pleased to have been asked to be a part of the Caribbean Premier League.
“I think it is to the benefit of the CPL organisers that they have embraced some of the past West Indies players, and are willing to utilise our expertise and knowledge of the game.”
Haynes, who along with Roger Harper, David Williams and Andy Roberts attended press conference.
Haynes added: “I am also happy that some overseas coaches have been included with whom we can share our ideas and systems.
“CPL is going to bring a great deal of interest to our cricket and showcase the talent of our players on the world stage.
“If you look at what is happening on the world scene with some of our players like Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Smith who have done very well lately, you understand that these are exciting times and now the Caribbean can share in that as well with our own professional league.”
Powell fielded numerous questions from the assembled media including an inquiry about how CPL is going to ensure that the Caribbean atmosphere and flavour is maintained throughout the tournament.
“We can assure fans that CPL will provide a true Caribbean cricket experience and we’re encouraging people to walk with their drums, horns, conch shells and the usual West Indian exuberance when they come to the matches,” Powell said.
“We believe we can still maintain the proper level of security without compromising on the carnival party atmosphere for which the West Indies is renowned.”