Ponting 'can't wait' for CPL
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting is the first international franchise player to be announced by the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), and says he "cannot wait" to head back this year to the place where it all began for him.
Ponting, who has done virtually everything in a stellar career that includes three ICC Cricket World Cup wins, took part in his first senior tour in 1995 when he went to the West Indies with Mark Taylor's squad. Eighteen years later, he's played 40 matches in the West Indies, but now he returns to make history as part of the inaugural franchise-based league.
Ponting is the first big name international player to be announced for the CPL, and others will follow soon. The CPL is scheduled to take place from 29 July to 26 August in six franchise countries: Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago.
"The West Indies has always been one of my favourite cricket destinations," said Ponting. "The mix of entertainment and cricket is the perfect recipe for West Indian cricket fans, as well as the rest of the world."
Ponting toured the West Indies six times with Australia—in 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007 (for the ICC Cricket World Cup), 2008 and 2012 —but he has never batted in Twenty20 cricket in the Caribbean as his one Twenty20 International (T20I) in 2008 was rain-affected. As a result, the 38 year-old is looking to put that right when the CPL gets underway in July.
"The format and concept is just fantastic and I am sure it will be a huge success right from the start," he said.
Also confirmed alongside Ponting are the six West Indies franchise players for the tournament: Darren Sammy, Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard and Marlon Samuels.
Ponting will find out which franchise he will be lining up for when the CPL draft that is planned to take place at the end of May, the details of which will be announced shortly.
Ahead of the CPL, Ponting he will appear for the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League and then move on to English County side Surrey, where he will fill in for South Africa Test captain Graeme Smith during the ICC Champions Trophy tournament.
In all, 90 players will be contracted to play in the CPL. Each of the six Franchise teams will be comprised of 15 players. All teams are required to have a minimum number of local players from that particular country. At least four of them must be under the age of 23, and teams can also field a maximum of four international players. The remainder of the team must consist of regional and/or local players.