The man who masterminded West Indies’ triumph at last year’s Twenty20 World Cup says he has high hopes that the Limacol Caribbean Premier League can produce a generation of players ready for the demands of international cricket.
Speaking during a recent media conference in Trinidad for the just concluded Tri-Nation Series, West Indies coach Ottis Gibson lauded the inaugural Twenty20 tournament, noting that it had the potential to develop the type of qualities integral to success at the highest level.
“It will help our T20 cricket because you have seen that about eight or nine of our guys are IPL stars,” Gibson said.
“Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy, Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine are all IPL superstars and we hope that the CPL, while producing more superstars, can produce people that can get used to fierce competition.”
The six players identified by Gibson are all regional franchise players for the Limacol CPL, which opens at Kensington Oval in Barbados on 30 July with what is expected to be a spectacular opening ceremony, followed by the first game between Barbados Tridents and St Lucia Zouks.
All told, 24 matches will be played across the six franchise countries of Barbados, Guyana, Antigua, Jamaica, St Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago, before the tournament winds up at Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad with the final on 24 August.
With an impressive array of regional and international stars decorating each side, heated rivalry is expected throughout the Limacol CPL, and Gibson said this type of competition could only serve as a boost for West Indies cricket.
“The one thing [I saw] watching the IPL this year is fierce competition. International sport is all about fierce competition so hopefully the LCPL will produce more guys that are able to handle the pressure of that competition,” said Gibson.
“Hopefully that is what the LCPL will do for West Indies cricket, as well as making a lot of [players] very comfortable financially.”
Some of the biggest stars in international cricket – including Australian Ricky Ponting, Bangladeshi Shakib al Hasan, New Zealand’s Ross Taylor and Sri Lankan icon Muttiah Muralitharan – are among 90 players contracted to play in the CPL, with each franchise team comprising 15 players.