Saturday, February 24, 2018

Eyes on the skies

CPL party starts with...

According to CEO of the Limacol Caribbean Premier League Damien O’Donohoe, the 2014 edition will be beamed to “over 220 million homes”. 

However, those millions and everyone at the National Cricket Stadium here in Grenada will also be looking anxiously at the skies today, eager that the sunshine returns to give the so-called “biggest party in sports” a bright start.

The sun hardly showed itself in St George’s yesterday And more rain his forecast for today.  The wet weather kept the six teams –defending champions Jamaica Tallawahs, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Barbados Tridents, St Lucia Zouks and the Trinidad and Tobago-based franchise now known simply as the Red Steel-- indoors. 

However, the captains all anticipated a more competitive series than the acclaimed  first season in 2013. “There are no easy teams,” said Denesh Ramdin, captain of last year’s beaten finalists, the Amazon Warriors at the launch of the series at the Stadium yesterday. They will open the tournament today against Marlon Samuels and the Hawksbills from 2pm.

“I’m sure it will be a very interesting tournament,” he added. “I think it will be about who plays well on that particular day. You never know who can come out and play a magnificent innings and hopefully this year, you never know it might be Warriors.”

The Hawksbills,  like all of the others sides except the Amazon Warriors have changed coaches. And new man, former Australia coach Tim Nielsen is keen to get started. “Really looking forward to seeing the tournament kick off tomorrow,” he said. “Give the crowd something to cheer about; lot’s of sun, lot’s of real good cricket; make sure the television ratings are good and most important from our perspective, we get a win.”

The Zouks are also desperate to create a good first impression this weekend. “We never came up to the tournament last year, so we’ve got everything to look forward to,” Zouks skipper Darren Sammy.  “And as the previous captains have said, it’s an open tournament. This year the draft treated us a little better, we got the players we wanted.”

The Zouks, have acquired former England standout Kevin Pietersen this year. He is one of  five changes to the roster this season. They will open their campaign tomorrow against defending champions Jamaica Tallawahs in the second match of a double-header from 2.30pm.

Tallawahs skipper Chris Gayle, is conscious that repeating as champions is “never easy”. 

He also noted that his side has some new faces also, “so you have to take that into consideration as well”. 

But he said, “once we can get a start then you build momentum and try and get into the final four and then you can take things from there. We are going to take it slowly but at the same time the energy is gonna be high”.

High energy will also likely characterise the tournament’s opening ceremony, scheduled to begin at 12.45 pm. Once the rain does not come to the party.