CPL 2016: Trinbago Knight Riders superstar duo Hashim Amla and Brendon McCullum gear up for tournament opener
Trinbago Knight Riders duo Hashim Amla and Brendon McCullum are determined to hit the ground running as the Trinidad & Tobago based side attempt to launch their side’s defence of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) title against St. Lucia Zouks at the Queen’s Park Oval on Wednesday night.
Speaking at the official launch of the new TKR jersey, the experienced internationals said that they were excited about pulling on the TKR colours as Dwayne Bravo’s men attempt to retain the title they won in dramatic fashion last year on their home ground.
South Africa’s Hashim Amla: “The West Indies is a wonderful place. The weather is exceptional, the excitement has been brilliant and everybody is looking forward to the CPL. It’s the first time that I’ve been involved in this competition and just from all the chat with the Trinbagonians, everybody’s really confident and hoping that it’s a great start for us. Certainly, being champions last year, we’ll be trying to defend that. It’s been a lovely few days since I’ve been with the boys.
“I’m very fortunate starting the CPL to have had the last three weeks already here playing at most of the venues that I’m going to be playing in the CPL. So to have some sort of experience of the different conditions is gold, but T20 cricket is a completely different format to ODI cricket and we’ve got some amazing cricketers in the team. Guys that I’ve played a lot against for many years, so it’s lovely to play with them and share their experiences and hopefully play some very entertaining cricket. That’s what playing cricket in the West Indies is about. We’ll try to entertain as much as we can.
“Sport is a wonderful means and medium to make many friends around the world and, as I said, with the guys I’ve played against we have had many battles on the field, to now share a changing room with them and share the good times, hopefully, is something that I’m really looking forward to.
“Those two guys (Morne Morkel and David Miller of the St. Lucia Zouks) are two guys I’ve spent a lot of time with in the South African team. It would be lovely to play against them. I have played a couple of times in the domestic teams back home, and though it will be as much fun as possible, each one of us will want to come out on top, certainly from a team perspective. But, regardless, it’s going to be a great atmosphere. Everybody’s been talking about how Trinidad is one of the best atmospheric grounds in the whole of the CPL, so it’s something that I’m really looking forward to experiencing. And I’m sure that Morne and Davy will enjoy it just as much.”
New Zealand Brendon McCullum: “Every team has got good players in the CPL and I think that’s probably a mark of the tournament that it’s attracting the world’s best players combined with the Caribbean’s best players as well. I think that’s a great sign for the tournament in general that it’s becoming a global attraction for all of the players around the world. It’s going to be a tough game (against St. Lucia Zouks), but they’re all going to be tough games so from our point of view we’ve got a good team as well. So we’ve got to go out there and play in the style and the manner which gives us the most amount of satisfaction and hopefully we win the game.
“You can’t guarantee it, but either way I think we’ll have a good time in front of this crowd. I think that overall for the CPL it’s probably the same mantra right throughout the tournament. We can’t guarantee success, but we can ensure that we play hard, we fight hard and we have a good time while we’re at it, and we play an attractive brand of cricket that, not just the CPL, but more importantly Trinidad & Tobago are proud of.
“Playing cricket in the Caribbean has an element of romance about it. It’s such an amazing place that’s stepped in history of when the West Indies team dominated for decades. To be able to come and play cricket over here, every ground is unique, different supporters and different quirks and the success that the West Indies had is still very much prevalent as you travel around the Caribbean. It’s going to be fun playing in these different grounds and experiencing different cultures as well which each ground serves up.
“You play in empty stadiums and they lack that intensity and emotion, which is what you want to be playing in front of. As an international cricketer you want to be playing in front of crowds that are passionate and against the best in the world. Playing here in Trinidad is going to be amazing, and playing in front of that crowd is going to be amazing as well. As (Dwayne) Bravo said, it’s going to be like our 12th, 13th and 14th man on the field and I’m looking forward to experiencing that too. I heard it (Queen’s Park Oval) is an amazing place to play, when they’re on your side! I’ve only played against them here and it wasn’t quite as much fun!”