With the start of the inaugural Caribbean Premier League tournament less than three months away, CPL officials recently concluded a tour of the six franchise countries — Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago — meeting with government ministers of sports and tourism, cricket board executives, stadium management teams/owners and tourism authorities.
The man charged with 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. 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 brings years of political diplomacy and finesse to the table as well as experience and relationships with the cricket community.
Powell says 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 at the table 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,” explained Powell. “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 went on to say 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.
Speaking about the relationships between CPL and the local boards, CPL CEO Damien O’Donohoe expressed, “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, Hon. Mohamed Irfaan Ali and Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony.
After the meeting, Hon. Minister Ali, commented “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. In this regard Guyana has the best potential since we have the largest diaspora who love cricket, and so we in Guyana will pull out all the stops and give the CPL our full commitment.”
The first ever Caribbean Premier League will get underway on 30 July with 24 matches played in six franchise countries – Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago.
Six top West Indies stars have been confirmed as Franchise players – Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels. Also confirmed are six overseas franchise players – 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.
A total of 90 players will be contracted to play in the CPL. Each of the six Franchise teams will comprise of 15 player squads. All teams are required to have a minimum number of local players from their franchise country and at least two of them must be under the age of 23. Teams can also field a maximum of four international players. The remainder of the team must consist of regional and/or local players.
Also confirmed is the make-up of the CPL Cricket Committee, which is being chaired by former Jamaica Prime Minister The Most Honourable PJ Patterson and include Zorol Barthley, Conde Riley and Walter Scott, QC alongside Ian Bishop, Lance Gibbs and Charles Wilkin, QC.