“We must be the envy of the world and use CPL to develop the Caribbean brand”
The newly-appointed Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Cricket Committee, chaired by former Jamaica Prime Minister, The Most Honourable PJ Patterson, held its first meeting in Jamaica where key issues were discussed, the CPL plans and progress were presented and decisions were taken pertaining to the inaugural Tournament which starts on 30 July in Barbados.
The initial part of the meeting was a CPL overview and introductory meeting where in attendance alongside Patterson were WICB President Dave Cameron; Carole Beckford of the WICB; Michael Hall, CEO of the West Indies Players Association; Damien O’Donohoe, CEO of the CPL; Kieran Foley, Digicel Group Marketing Operations Director; Ken Mason (Digicel); Roland Holder (WICB); Charles Wilkin (CPL Cricket Committee); Lance Gibbs (CPL Cricket Committee); Zorol Barthley (CPL Cricket Committee); Walter H. Scott (CPL Cricket Committee); Conde Riley (CPL Cricket Committee); Carlisle Powell, CPL Operations Manager; Jamie Stewart, CPL Commercial; and Rhonda Kelly, CPL Event Director.
Patterson opened the meeting by welcoming the group and reiterating his thoughts about being involved with the Caribbean Premier League.
“Very often former Prime Ministers are asked to do many things, and we need to learn to say no. However, when I was asked to chair the CPL Cricket Committee, I did not hesitate,” said Patterson. “I truly regard cricket as pivotal to the Caribbean process, and chairing this committee is of utmost importance to me because I believe sports entertainment is big business!”
The former Jamaica Prime Minister also stressed that everyone must work together to ensure the CPL gets off to a good start.
“We must be the envy of the world and use this tournament to develop the Caribbean brand,” he added.
An overview of the CPL was given by CPL CEO Damien O’Donohoe, followed by details about the structure of the Tournament, operations and the partnership between CPL and Digicel. The player structure and the draft process were also discussed as well as other tournament committee business.
“This was a very productive first meeting, and an important one as the player draft is imminent and the Tournament itself is just under three months away,” said Patterson. “It is imperative that we are all on the same page, and informed of all the preparations that have been made to date. Hence, I was very encouraged and impressed by what I’ve heard and I’m pleased by the spirit of cooperation that I sensed around the table. Judging by the plans I’ve heard here today, the people of the Caribbean, and indeed cricket enthusiasts around the world, should be very excited about what is to come from the CPL, and I believe West Indians will be proud to call this event their own.”
WICB and WIPA Presidents, Dave Cameron and Michael Hall respectively, echoed their agreement.
“The WICB is pleased to be a part of the CPL and we are happy about the partnerships being forged between the organisations,” said Cameron. “The WICB’s mission is to develop and promote West Indies cricket for the benefit and enjoyment of the West Indian people, and this ties into one of CPL’s objectives. We are keen on working well with the CPL to this common goal, and I will be encouraging the regional cricket boards, the players and all other West Indies cricket stakeholders to play their part in making this tournament a success.”
“WIPA has been working closely with the CPL and we will be encouraging our members to solidify their commitments to the League by signing their agreements as soon as possible,” commented Hall.
After the initial introductory gathering, the members of the CPL Cricket Committee continued the business of the committee with its members only.
A key decision that was made by the Committee was in response to a request from the Sri Lanka Cricket Board for CPL to change its tournament dates. It was agreed unanimously that the CPL dates could not, and would not be changed at this stageas too much had already been done.
In addition, the Committee decided that although there is ananti-corruption clause in the player contracts, there is always a need for the players and the league to be more educated on what constitutes corruption and the ways in which they may be approached.,. Therefore, each CPL franchise team will attend a presentation about corruption which will be facilitated by the WICB Anti-Corruption Officer.
The first ever Caribbean Premier League, sponsored by Digicel, will get underway on 30 July with 24 matches played in six franchise countries, namely – Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago.
Six top West Indies stars have been confirmed as franchise players – Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels. Also confirmed are six overseas franchise players – former Australia captains Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting, ex-New Zealand captain Ross Taylor, Pakistan Twenty20 International captain Mohammad Hafeez, Herschelle Gibbs of South Africa and Sri Lanka spin wizard MuttiahMuralitharan.
A total of 90 players will be contracted to play in the CPL. Each of the six franchise teams will be comprised of 15 player squads. All teams are required to have a minimum number of local players from their franchise country and at least two of them must be under the age of 23. Teams can also field a maximum of four international players. The remainder of the team must consist of regional and/or local players.