Impressed as he was by the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), West Indies coach Ottis Gibson wants to see better standard pitches for future editions of the Twenty20 tournament.
“That’s always been my concern,” Gibson told the Express last week. “T20 cricket needs...you watch it in India and the pitches are flat and the scores are high and batsmen can hit through the ball with freedom. T20 cricket needs that and unfortunately that is one of our biggest challenges right now, to prepare better pitches, not just in this format but in all formats.”
The inaugural Limacol CPL concluded on Saturday night with a seven-wicket win for the Jamaica Tallawahs in what was a low-scoring final at the Queen’s Park Oval.
Throughout the series, there were just 11 totals above 150 in 24 matches, while there were four below 100 from teams who either set totals or failed to chase successfully.
“It’s something that the board is looking into right now and hopefully by the time this tournament comes around next year, not just this tournament but by the time the international tournaments come around next year, we can see a marked improvement in the pitches. The fans deserve to go and see cricket played on better pitches and it will only improve the batsmanship that we see in the region.”
Pitch quality however, was about the only concern the WI coach seemed to have about the series.
“It’s been a good spectacle,” Gibson said.
“I think regional players, some of the star performers, the (Krishmar) Santokies,...the Sheldon Cotterells and people like that....It’s good that some of the star performers are local players if you like...showcasing local talent to the world and that could only be a good thing for us.”
Left-arm swing bowler Santokie, named Player-of-the-Series, ended with 16 wickets, while the energetic Cotterell picked up eight wickets for the Antigua Hawksbills at an average of 21.75 and an economy rate of 6.44.
Gibson also took note of 17-year-old Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel wicketkeeper/batsman Nicholas Pooran.
“I’ve heard a lot in the last year or so about his talent,” he said. “It’s difficult to judge cricketers in the T20 format, that’s something that I don’t want to do, but it’s good to see that raw, natural talent that he’s shown and hopefully he will be looked after and nurtured in the right way and West Indies will get the benefit from what is obviously a very talented young cricketer.”
The West Indies coach also saw benefits for regional cricket because of the integration of players from various islands into the different teams.
“You have Trinidadians playing in Barbados and Jamaicans playing here, there and everywhere, so it’s not about Trinidad versus Barbados anymore. And the competition has been very good,” he said. “I think the response to (Kieron) Pollard in Barbados, to the first three games in Barbados especially has been very, very good. I know he was a little bit wary of what sort of reception he would get and I was pleased that he got such a good reception...Tonight (Friday) you’ve got a Trinidadian leading a Bajan side in Trinidad so that adds to the whole atmosphere around the cricket. It’s been good that the fans have come out and got behind the teams in the way that they have been.”
Gibson is also hopeful that the influence of the overseas players in this year’s CPL will prove to be significant.
“The key thing to me is that the regional players pick their brains and learn from their experience. That to me is one of the most important things I think is happening. Those guys bring a professionalism to it that our guys might not have been exposed to before..so that when the next tournament comes around next year, we (will see) that sort of professional outlook from our local players and therefore the tournament benefits all round.”