The new Caribbean Premier League could eventually provide an opportunity for young Caymanian cricketers to emerge on the world stage, according to Theo Cuffy.
The Cayman Islands Cricket Association’s technical director said he believes the Twenty20 league, which gets under way on 30 July, will be good for cricket in the Caribbean in general.
If the league takes off it could even mean new opportunities for the most talented players in the Cayman Islands, previously ineligible for domestic competitions in the Caribbean.
Cuffy said: “We do have some young players who have potential. To get the exposure to get to that level is another story.
“We are not generally exposed to the West Indies cricket because we play in the International Cricket Council Americas competition.
“We don’t play in the domestic tournaments and our players are not recognised by the West Indies Cricket Board.
“The CPL may mean the opportunity is there. Can we ring bells and get one of our young players into the auction next year or the year after that? We don’t know. We will be trying to see what we can do.”
Cuffy added that there were players in Cayman with the potential to make it. But he said they have to work hard.
“We do have a number of young players with potential, but we need to get them to apply themselves.”
Cayman players of the calibre of Conroy Wright, Marlon Bryan, Darren Cato, Corey Cato, Omar Willis, Ramon Sealy and Kervin Ebanks could get an opportunity to shine at a higher level.
The draft for the opening CPL season, which will feature six teams, was held in Jamaica two weeks ago.
Marlon Samuels became a franchise player for Antigua Hawksbills, Kieron Pollard for Barbados Tridents, Sunil Narine for Guyana Amazon Warriors, Chris Gayle for Jamaica Tallawahs, Darren Sammy for St. Lucia Zouks and Dwayne Bravo for Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel.
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, Pakistan’s Shoaib Malik, Sri Lanka spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan and South African batsman Herschelle Gibbs are among the international stars signed up for the league.
Cuffy added: “I think this is what we need in the region. The West Indies has some of the best T20 players in the world.
“Every match in the Indian Premier League, you saw a West Indian star in it.”
He has doubts over whether the new league will ever have the global impact of the Indian Premier League.
“Regardless of how big it gets I don’t think it can compete with the IPL. This guy (the founder of the CPL) has a lot of money, but it’s peanuts compared to the guys in India.
“We have around eight million people in the region compared with a billion in India. It is the same with the Big Bash in Australia. It is nice for the area, but it will never have the global power and wealth of the IPL.”
Cuffy is a little concerned at the use of country names for what is essentially a club competition.
“I don’t see how you can call the team Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel when the players are from all over the place.
“Kieron Pollard (a Trinidadian) is playing for Barbados. I don’t have a problem with that. The name is the problem. You shouldn’t call it Trinidad and Tobago when it is not a Trinidad and Tobago team.”
He supports the Caribbean Premier League in general, but is also concerned that it may add to the focus on Twenty20 at the expense of other forms of the game.
“We are producing a lot of good Twenty20 players who don’t seem to be able to translate that skill to other forms of the game.”