West Indies coach Ottis Gibson masterminded their triumph at last year’s Twenty20 World Cup and he has high hopes that the Limacol Caribbean Premier League can produce a generation of players ready for the demands of international cricket.
Gibson is lauding the inaugural Twenty20 tournament, noting that it has the potential to develop the type of qualities integral to success at the highest level.
“It will help our T20 cricket because you have seen that about eight or nine of our guys are Indian Premier League stars,” Gibson said.
“Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy, Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine are all IPL superstars and we hope that the Caribbean Premier League, while producing more superstars, can produce people who can get used to fierce competition.”
These six players are all regional franchise players for the Limacol CPL, which opens at Kensington Oval in Barbados on 30 July with a ceremony, followed by the first game between Barbados Tridents and St. Lucia Zouks.
Sadly for the Guyana Amazon Warriors they will not have the brilliant youngster Ronsford Beaton in the side, who pulled out injured.
The 20-year old fast-medium bowler from Guyana has picked up a stress fracture that will take some time to repair. Fast bowler Keon Joseph, 21, also from Guyana, has been called up to join the Amazon Warriors.
“It is unfortunate that we had to lose Beaton due to injury. We expected him to play a major role in the team,” said Amazon Warriors coach Roger Harper. “However we are delighted that we have been able to replace him with a talented player like Keon Joseph, and we are sure he will do a good job.”
Twenty-four matches will be played across the six franchise countries of Barbados, Guyana, Antigua, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago, before the tournament winds up at Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad with the final on 24 August.
With an impressive array of regional and international aces decorating each side, intense rivalry is expected throughout the Limacol Caribbean Premier League and Gibson said this type of competition can only boost regional cricket.
“The one thing I saw watching the IPL this year is fierce competition,” he said. “International sport is all about fierce competition, so hopefully the LCPL will produce more guys who are able to handle the pressure of that competition.
“Hopefully, that is what the LCPL will do for West Indies cricket, as well as making a lot of players very comfortable financially.”
Some of the biggest names in international cricket – including Australian Ricky Ponting, Bangladeshi Shakib al Hasan, New Zealand’s Ross Taylor and Sri Lankan icon Muttiah Muralitharan – are among 90 players contracted to play in the Caribbean Premier League, with each franchise team comprising 15 players.