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CPL is doomed to fail
The Caribbean Premier League (CPL) is not good for Trinidad and Tobago. It is neither good for the country—Trinidad and Tobago—nor is it good for cricket in this country. If one was honest and not speculative, it could be garnered that the purpose of this CPL tournament was to curtail the success of T&T in T20 tournaments both regionally and internationally. It has become obvious that T&T possessed the best players in the region for this version of the game and the success of these players financially has led to further incentive for the youth in this country to want to emulate them. However, T&T’s success has caused a lot of pain elsewhere in the Caribbean and especially it seems in the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) meeting rooms, where it would appear this serration of a product called CPL was conceived, then carried in the bellies of these men with agendas until they could find a father, willing to spend with the tale of earnings as an encouragement. Because, there was no possible chance that Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana or any country in the region could upset T&T in a league and knockout format, the idea to disband the team became urgent.
The problem is that the current T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) has two persons on the WICB at meetings and unless these persons were excluded, then they would have been aware of the plans. We will probably never know what were the views of Dr Allen Sammy and Baldath Mahabir, but it is tantamount to hypocrisy for the TTCBC to in any way attempt to say that they now want to disassociate themselves with the CPL. The facts are the rules of this tournament were flawed from the start, as I have stated over the last few months in the naming of teams as countries first and with nicknames afterwards and thereby leading many to acquire the wrong impression about the origins of the team. In other words, teams should not have Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica or Guyana in front of the rest of their tournament names.
Particularly this is true of T&T’s team whose performances has set them apart on the World stage, where a team with this name that fails to deliver quality performances can erode some of that goodwill. So it is not surprising that the rest of the Caribbean would not likewise be upset, after all Barbados, Guyana, Antigua, St Lucia and to a lesser extent Jamaica have no such pedigree or high profile in T20 cricket. Therefore they will be happy to be finally winning something, even though it is clearly on false pretences with several players from outside of their respective countries. And please do not mention the role of the overseas players, as many are past their sell-by dates in Ricky Ponting and Muttiah Muralitharan and others like the Pakistan players are just glad to be allowed to play T20 cricket.
It is totally unfair, as well, that the team based in T&T, has to do without the following players, Keiron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Sunil Narine, Lendl Simmons, Reyard Emrit, and Shannon Gabriel, needless to say, the teams with these players, the Tridents based in Barbados and the Amazon Warriors based in Guyana are currently leading the standings and Red Steel, the team based in T&T is last. Ravi Rampaul is injured otherwise he would be playing for Jamaica with Chris Gayle, Andre Russell and Danza Hyatt. This has left a bitter taste in the mouth of many in this country and in my most recent Isports radio programmes, 95 per cent of the cricketing public are upset at the format and the fact that T&T is at a clear disadvantage in this format. The truth is, they are correct, as the other players who have joined the squad have weakened the team severely.
The basis of team selection must also be addressed, because while the semifinals and finals will be staged in this country, it would not surprise me to have sparse crowds if the Red Steel team continues to disappoint. Something is wrong it would appear with the chemistry of this teaml. Even more desparing has to be the effect this will have on the unity of Trinidad and Tobago’s team in the Champions league in India in September, as according to the rules of the CPL, there is a 30-day window of no cricket. This cannot and should not be applicable to T&T players. Just like any new establishment, there will be early interest born of inquisitiveness, but the test of time will be the appeal and the longevity and also the enthusiasm of the players. It is perhaps no coincidence that of the six franchise players, three from T&T, two from Jamaica and one from St Lucia, none of their respective countries are playing particularly good cricket at the moment. As for TTCBC, they have a lot to answer for and a lot to be accountable for. Fans should demand open and transparent ideas on the damage this is doing to T&T. Three years ago, I stated that Guyana would not win a match in the Champions Trophy, many were upset, but I was right. This time, I foresee that this tournament is doomed to failure.