The fourth season of the Hero Caribbean Premier League begins on June 29 when defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders lock horns with the St Lucia Zouks. The CPL will see six teams participating this season and the top four teams will advance to the semi-finals. The knockout stage consisting of the top four sides bears resemblance with the IPL knockout stage as due importance is given to the sides securing a top-two position in the points table. The big final is set to take place on the 7th of August.
This T20 carnival has captured the imagination of the people in the Caribbean with some of the top cricketers in the world exhibiting their skills and adding to the spectacle. People in the Land of Calypso are generally fun loving and this format epitomises their jovial nature.
The standard venues for this season are Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts, St. Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago. However, this season CPL will create a history of sorts by holding as many as six matches at Florida, USA. The matches will be held in Central Broward Stadium at Lauderhill from 28th to 30th of July.
Let's take a look at how the teams are lined up for this exhilarating tournament.
Home ground: Kensington Oval, Barbados
Led by Kieron Pollard with players like AB de Villiers in the team, it would be safe to say that the Barbados Tridents are one of the favourites to lift the coveted trophy. The 2014 champions showed great tenacity in the previous season as well and finished second for their efforts. The side looks extremely well balanced with some solid cricketers in their squad.
Jason Holder, Ravi Rampaul, and Wayne Parnell will form a lethal pace troika for the Tridents with David Wiese expected to chip in with his all-round ability. Shoaib Malik will be expected to anchor the innings whilst Shamar Springer is an exciting youngster who was brilliant with the bat in the U-19 World cup in Bangladesh.
Robin Singh is the head coach and former Windies seamer Vasbert Drakes is the assistant coach.
Barbados Tridents Squad:
Kieron Pollard (Captain), AB de Villiers, Shoaib Mallik, Nicolas Pooran, Ravi Rampaul, David Wiese, Robin Pietersen, Raymon Reifer, Ashley Nurse, Wayne Parnell, Akeil Hosein, Imran Khan, Kyle Hope, Naveen Stewart, Kyle Corbin, Steven Taylor, Shamar Springer, Jason Holder
Guyana Amazon Warriors
Home Ground: Providence Stadium, Guyana
They are the perennial runners-up and have been one of the most consistent sides of CPL ever since the tournament’s inception. Guyana will be captained by Martin Guptill and it will be interesting to see the tactical moves of the hard-hitting Kiwi. Dwayne Smith is expected to open the batting with the skipper. Chris Lynn, the big-hitting Aussie, meanwhile, will have an important role to play as well in the middle-order.
The two leg spinners Devendra Bishoo and Adam Zampa will threaten because of the slowish nature of the Providence track as witnessed in the recent tri-series involving the Aussies and the Proteas along with the hosts. Veerasammy Permaul, who has international experience, will be a key local player too. Sohail Tanvir, the left arm seamer from Pakistan will spearhead the pace attack for the Warriors.
Roger Harper is the head coach for the Amazon Warriors.
Guyana Amazon Warriors Squad:
Martin Guptill (C), Sohail Tanvir, Dwayne Smith, Chris Lynn, Rayad Emrit, Adam Zampa, Jason Mohammed, Christopher Barnwell, Veerasammy Permaul, Orlando Peters, Assad Fudadin , Anthony Bramble, Paul Wintz, Steven Jacobs, Stephen Katwaroo, Devendra Bishoo, Muhammad Ahsan Ali Khan, Shimron Hetmyer
Home ground: Sabina Park
The 2013 champions have an excellent chance this season to emerge victorious if they play to their potential. After all, they are led by Jamaica's superhero and the self-proclaimed ‘Boss’ Christopher Henry Gayle. He still sends shivers down the spines of the opposition every time he steps out to open the innings. Kumar Sangakkara could open with Gayle and it will be wonderful to watch them fire in unison.
Dale Steyn will be asked to do the bulk of the damage with the new ball. Jonathan Foo, the leg spinner, and Shakib Al Hasan are the tweakers in the side. Andre Russell could be the most valuable player for his side with both the bat and ball, not to forget his electrifying fielding. Imad Wasim too will be asked to chip in with his left arm orthodox spin. Shakib and Imad will play key roles with the willow as well.
The Tallawahs are coached by the former English ‘keeper Paul Nixon.
Jamaica Tallawahs Squad:
Chris Gayle (C), Andre Russell, Kumar Sangakkara, Shakib Al Hasan, Imad Wasim, Dale Steyn, Rovman Powell, Chadwick Walton, Jon-Rus Jaggesar, Andre McCarthy, Jonathan Foo, Alex Ross, Kesrick Williams, Nkrumah Bonner, Garey Mathurin, Timroy Allen, Oshane Thomas
St Kitts & Nevis Patriots
Home Ground: Warner park, Basseterre
Faf Du Plessis is the new skipper for the Patriots and the South African has a task on his hands to inspire St. Kitts to their maiden CPL title. The batting looks decent with Brad Hodge in the mix along with the experience of Lendl Simmons to rely on. The big-hitting will be left to the dangerous all-rounders Thisara Perera and the X factor of the side, Carlos Brathwaite.
The bowling looks effective on paper with Krishmar Santokie’s ability to take the pace off the ball and Tino Best’s ability to bowl nice and quick. The spin department also looks strong with Samuel Badree, who has a penchant of bowling brilliantly with the new ball. Tabraiz Shamsi, the Chinaman, too lends a lot of weight to the side.
Eric Simmons is the coach and Floyd Reifer is his assistant.
St Kitts & Nevis Patriots Squad:
Faf Du Plessis (C), Lendl Simmons, Samuel Badree, Brad Hodge, Thisara Perera, Jonathan Carter, Krishmar Santokie, Evin Lewis, Tabraiz Shamsi, Kieran Powell, Jon-Jon Smuts, Devon Thomas, Sharmarh Brooks, Tino Best, Jeremiah Louis, Carlos Brathwaite, Nikhil Dutta, Alzarri Joseph
St Lucia Zouks
Home ground: Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium
One only hopes for a strong statement from a side led by Darren Sammy. Sammy, who now has the home stadium named after him, will look to use his vast T20 experience and put together a dangerous team for this season. He does have some fantastic players at his disposal like the ever-dependent Michael Hussey and his recently retired compatriot Shane Watson.
The explosive David Miller and the steady Grant Elliot will be required to give the finishing touches for St Lucia. The local duo of Johnson Charles and Andre Fletcher would like to show their mettle in this big tournament with their power hitting up front. Gidron Pope is another exciting youngster to watch out for!
St. Lucia is coached by Stuart Williams and Trevor Penney is the assistant coach.
St. Lucia Zouks Squad:
Darren Sammy (C), Shane Watson, David Miller, Michael Hussey, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher, Morne Morkel, Denesh Ramdin, Derone Davis, Grant Elliot, Keron Cottoy, Shane Shillingford, Delorn Johnson, Kyle Mayers, Keddy Lesporis, Kristopher Ramsaran, Nitish Kumar, Gidron Pope
Trinbago Knight Riders
Home ground: Queen’s Park Oval
They are the defending champions who will give their all to keep the coveted trophy with them when they hit the ground running this season. Previously known as the Trinidad & Tobago Red Steels, they played some outstanding cricket last season to come up trumps. Led by the charismatic Dwayne Bravo, the Knight Riders possess destructive batters like the former Kiwi skipper Brendon McCullum and Pakistan’s sensation, Umar Akmal.
Add to that the calmness of Hashim Amla and the destructive ability of Colin Munro, this team surely becomes the team to watch out for! Kevon Cooper has the all round ability to stun the opposition and Suleiman Benn is one of the most underrated left arm spinner going around. However, much will depend on Sunil Narine’s incisive spells as he holds the key for the Knight Riders.
The team is coached by Simon Helmot and partly owned by the Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan.
Trinbago Knight Riders Squad:
Dwayne Bravo (C), Brendon McCullum, Sunil Narine, Hashim Amla, Umar Akmal, Kevon Cooper, Suleiman Benn, Colin Munro, Anton Devcich, Ronsford Beaton, Nikita Miller, Javon Searles, William Perkins, Yannic Cariah, Darren Bravo, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Hamza Tariq, Anderson Phillip