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Five Saint Lucians are among the final list of players who have made themselves available for the 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League Draft, which will take place in London on May 22, 2019.
The five are Daren Sammy, Johnson Charles, Keddy Lesporis, Larry Edward, and Johnnel Eugene.
The number of players that have put their names forward for the draft has increased yet again in 2019, as has the number of countries from which the overseas players are from.
A record 536 players from 20 overseas countries and the West Indies are available to be picked by the six Hero CPL teams. Included in the list are some of the best T20 players in the world, with the likes of Alex Hales, Rashid Khan, Shakib al Hasan, Jofra Archer and JP Duminy putting their names forward along with Caribbean stars such as Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope.
Prior to the draft, each franchise will have the option to retain and/or acquire a maximum of six players, although there is no obligation to do so. Each team must retain at least three West Indies players, and no more than four; no more than one overseas player; a Marquee Player whether retained or acquired; and an ICC Americas Player, whether retained or acquired.
The Saint Lucia Stars franchise has made no announcements regarding the Draft or the team composition for the upcoming season. Rather, the team has lost the rights to last year’s captain, Kieron Pollard, who rejoins his hometown franchise, Trinidad and Tobago. The Stars have been posting on their social media channels asking fans who should be the 2019 captain.
The likeliest bet is Sammy, the former West Indies captain, who has enjoyed success in franchise leagues internationally. Last year, though, he had a forgettable CPL campaign, totalling jsut 39 runs from 5 innings, and not bowling a single ball.
In 2018, Charles played for the Jamaica Tallawahs. The hard-hitting opening batsman was their third-highest run-scorer, with 225 in 8 innings, and boasted their fifth-highest average, 28.12 runs per innings.
Although his name is familiar to Saint Lucian cricket fans, 30-year-old top-order batsman Lesporis has not played a game in the CPL since 2016, although he was part of the then Saint Lucia Zouks squad in 2017.
Edward has never played in the CPL, but he is a dangerous spinner, who excelled for the Windward Islands Volcanoes during the recently concluded West Indies first-class season.
Eugene may be the biggest surprise of the lot. The former Junior Sportsman of the Year in Saint Lucia, the erstwhile West Indies youth all-rounder is presently at the University of the West Indies.
Speaking about the player response to this year’s draft, Michael Hall, Hero CPL Tournament operations director, said: “The fact that so many players have registered for our draft is a testament to the stature of our league. Playing cricket in the Caribbean is something that all players look forward to, and the CPL combines that allure with a high standard of cricket. We expect that this year’s tournament will be no different.”