cricket standard to improve: Suruj Ragoonath

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Ragoonath: CPL an exciting prospect

By Roger Seepersad

There will be some exciting times ahead for West Indies especially with the establishment of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 in 2013.

On December 13, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) announced that it had concluded an agreement with Barbados-based Verus International to launch a professional franchise-based T20 league in the Caribbean, starting in 2013.

Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board CEO Suruj Ragoonath attended a press conference in Barbados recently when some details of the tournament were revealed and said the new professional league will help to improve the standard of cricket being played in the Caribbean.

Speaking about the CPL T20, Ragoonath said: "I am sure this tournament is going to bring a lot of exposure to players who will have the opportunity to attract attention of the international public and do like Bravo and Pollard and Gayle have done and get other contracts as well.

"But as far as opportunities are concerned it is going to bring a lot more opportunities and one would expect that the players involved and who are on the fringe will understand (and will start) improving their level of play and making cricket a career," the former West Indies Test cricketer added.

"I think it is very exciting that we will be having our own Premier League, following in the footsteps of what we have seen happening in the rest of the world as far as cricket is concerned...I think it is very exciting," said Ragoonath.

Though no details of the CPL have been released, it was noted that it will be six-team competition much like the Caribbean T20.

"Well I am not sure if we will be having a tournament that is very different from what we are having right now. It might be a little too early to determine what the structure is and who is going to be playing where but it really leaves a lot of questions still to be answered. It is a difficult to predict the fan reaction," Ragoonath explained.

He said: "Not much has been revealed as far as salary caps are concerned but one would expect they will be following models that already exist, like the IPL (Indian Premier League).

"Money may not be as big as the IPL but it may not be as small as say the Bangladesh Premier League. As far as salary caps are concerned, it is unpredictable at the moment but the idea would be to get the best players in the world to be part of the Caribbean tournament."

The TTCB CEO also expects the competition to be of top quality if it succeeds in attracting some of the big names in T20 cricket.

He added: "What you are expected to get is a higher standard of cricket because you are able to draw from an international pool rather than just as island territory, so each of the teams taking part should be a stronger team than the regional team would be, and that in itself would help the regional players to improve because they will be exposed to not just a higher level of play but a different level of professionalism, a different level of finances and all these things have benefits to Caribbean cricket and cricketers."

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