Muddled season of CPL T20 cricket
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
There can be little doubt that the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) failed Trinidad and Tobago, despite the public relations exercise. The end result was that T&T’s Red Steel struggled, although scraping into the semifinals. That the T&T public booed, not once but twice, T&T captain Dwayne Bravo on Saturday, when he appeared on the big screen, was inappropriate and wrong, but it was a message of dissatisfaction, given the high standards of the past. What this proves is that there must be a change of name going forward and the name of the countries must not be used. Some of the players, with whom I have spoken, suggest naming the teams after the capital towns in each island, which on the surface seems logical, but given the way West Indies cricket is administered, may not actually work.
T20 has long been good theatre and always had an appeal even going back to the Stanford days. However, it lost its value when T&T began to dominate and the other teams fell short. Therefore, people around the Caribbean lost interest, not wanting to watch one-sided matches. It is clear in the current set up that T&T was at a serious disadvantage. Let us examine the base; the West Indies won the World T20 Championships in Sri Lanka in 2012. The West Indies squad was DJG Sammy, DJ Bravo, S Badree, DM Bravo, J Charles, FH Edwards, CH Gayle, SP Narine, KA Pollard, D Ramdin, R Rampaul, AD Russell, MN Samuels, LMP Simmons, DR Smith. Of the players above, the following are from T&T: DJ Bravo, Badree, D M Bravo, Narine, Pollard, Ramdin, Rampaul and Simmons—EIGHT. Three from Jamaica: Gayle, Russell and Samuels. Two from Barbados: Edwards and Smith. Two from St Lucia: Sammy and Charles.
The teams were divided based on these players with T&T receiving three of the eight players above and the other five placed elsewhere. Strangely, Guyana got three players, Barbados, one player and Jamaica allocated one player as well. Jamaica had three players and got two selected. Mathematically, that is 66 per cent, Barbados had two players and got one selected and that is 50 per cent, similarly St Lucia had two players and only one was selected, so that also is 50 per cent. Now let us re-examine the Red Steel. Of the eight players, T&T got three players which is 37.5 per cent, and if we are to use the starting 11, where T&T had six players in the finals, they got only two of the six—33 per cent. Even if you do not like mathematics, there is inequality in all of this. While, it is easy to say that this tournament was a success in terms of crowd participation and because people enjoyed the fun and party atmosphere, those who argue that it would develop young players may need to re-think that idea, as both Guyana and Jamaica struggled to give exposure to many “young and inexperienced” players.
Clearly there is something wrong with this model and it may lead to asking why don’t we do something similar in athletics? How would Jamaica feel about this if we decided to have a special athletics games in the Caribbean and dispose of the leading Jamaican athletes to run for various teams in the region such as Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Yohan Blake, Nesta Carter, Warren Weir, etc. Of course Usain Bolt will run for Jamaica. And how would Jamaica feel to read online or listen in the BBC news and be told that the Guyana or Barbados track team defeated Jamaica? I am certain they would not be very happy. Most of the international media stated that T&T lost and that is how it was perceived. As it stands, the Jamaican Tallawahs will not be able to represent the region in the Champions League cricket in September, as T&T already qualified. Does this mean, that they will represent the West Indies next year in 2014 and how many of the team will be eligible, given the amount of players on this team with outside commitments to other clubs?
This CPL is very muddled in terms of process but it seems the only interest is financial and if so, that is sad.