CPL a boon and bane for Windies

Sunday Express - - SPORT - SRINIDHIPR srinidhi@newin­di­an­ex­press.com

WEST Indies’ cam­paign in In­dia has not gone the way they would have liked. A 0-2 loss in Tests, 1-3 de­feat in ODIs and 0-2 down in the T20I se­ries, they have only one match to go. Even a win in the dead rub­ber on Sun­day will not re­deem any­thing.

How­ever, de­spite fail­ures, they will have some­thing to look for­ward to when they leave the coun­try after the six-week tour: fresh faces with prom­ise. Hard-hit­ting bats­man Shim­ron Het­myer and fast-bowler like Oshane Thomas — there are hints of a bet­ter fu­ture.

They also have Fabian Allen, Obed McCoy, Kharry Pierre and un­capped fast bowler Sher­fane Ruther­ford in the squad. Even though left-arm spin­ner Allen spoke about the need for young­sters to step up after their five-wicket loss in the first T20I, it would not be fair to ex­pect the new play­ers — Allen, Pierre, Thomas made their T20I de­but in the opener — to be in­stant match-win­ners. But what is more strik­ing is, all these play­ers are prod­ucts of the Caribbean Pre­mier League (CPL).

“I’d like to use the In­dian Pre­mier League as an ex­am­ple,” said West Indies wick­et­keeper and for­mer cap­tain De­nesh Ramdin. “In­dian cricket is so strong in all for­mats be­cause of the IPL, since young play­ers come through the sys­tem. So in five years, hope­fully, our cricket can take off to that next level be­cause we have some promis- ing T20 and 50-over crick­eters. The CPL is a great plat­form for them.”

Het­myer, 21, was the third high­est-scorer in CPL this year with 480 runs at a strike rate of 148.14. Thomas, also 21, was the most suc­cess­ful pacer and sec­ond high­est wicket-taker with 18 scalps. Play­ers like them will at­tract buy­ers from other T20 leagues if they have not al­ready.

“They have played just one CPL tour­na­ment, and some of them have al­ready been picked up by Bangladesh (Pre­mier League), UAE T10 and so on. There are some good fast bowlers com­ing through. The fu­ture looks pos­i­tive,” said the 33-yearold, who has seen the state of West Indies cricket be­fore and after the ad­vent of CPL. He be­lieves the team can pro­duce more T20 spe­cial­ists with a strong league back home.

With the pop­u­lar­ity of CPL, comes the con­cern of play­ers con­cen­trat­ing only on one for­mat and choos­ing to stay away from the na­tional team. “It’s all about hav­ing food on the ta­ble. If the play­ers are good enough to be picked up by a team in an­other part of the world, then no­body can stop them. It’s dif­fi­cult to build a team given the cur­rent sce­nario. When you look at our World T20 play­ers, they’re in de­mand all over the world. We’re suf­fer­ing in that as­pect. Our se­nior play­ers did not turn up for this tour and that’s one of the rea­sons why we’re 2-0 down in this se­ries.”

D SAMPATHKUMAR

West Indies pacer Oshane Thomas is one of the bright­est prospects to emerge out of the Caribbean Pre­mier League |

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