CPL a boon and bane for Windies
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.”
West Indies pacer Oshane Thomas is one of the brightest prospects to emerge out of the Caribbean Premier League |