It’s that time of the year folks when you know you have to set your alarm clocks to 2.30, 3.30, 4.30 and 5.30 am in the morning. Yes, that’s right! We’re just 10 days away from the commencement of the seventh edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and the buzz, excitement, hysteria and frenzy has already begun. Superstars from all over the world are all set to gather once more to take part in the annual showdown at the Caribbean Islands, and once again, it’ll be time to reignite the local rivalries and relive the minuscule battles. However, you might be wondering what makes the CPL so special, hence we’ve penned down five reasons why you need to tune into the upcoming edition of the tournament.
Cancel all plans, grab some popcorn and tune into your television sets, for the Universe Boss Chris Gayle is going to be in action in the forthcoming edition of the CPL. In what could potentially turn out to be his last ODI, Gayle pummeled the Indian bowlers to submission by striking a 41-ball 72, leaving the whole world wanting to see more. Say no more, as the Universe Boss will sport the glorious Black’n’Green combo to represent the Jamaica Tallawahs in the upcoming season. After a rather inauspicious season with St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in 2018, the Jamaican will be playing in front of his home crowd this time around and one can bet that he will be hell-bent on making it count and entertain the crowd to the maximum of his abilities. As an added bonus, Gayle will also be teaming up with Andre Russell this season, so tighten your seat belts, sit back and enjoy, as it is going to be one hell of a rollercoaster ride.
Celebrations, fights and send-offs
Caribbean Premier League means entertainment, and cricket, in itself, is, of course, the purest form of entertainment. But then again, there are certain matches, moments and players that take the entertainment factor to a whole new level and in turn, make us enjoy the game we love watching even more. From Sheldon Cottrell’s salute to DJ Bravo’s champion dance, everyone loves a celebration. As recently as last month, the pair of Bravo and Kieron Pollard had some light-hearted banter in GT20 Canada by giving send-offs. However, the standout moment in CPL history is still the face-off between Chadwick Walton and Kesrick Williams, which till date remains arguably one of the most iconic moments in T20 history. In case you didn’t know, Williams loves to pull out his “notebook”, a celebration in which he gestures “noting down” the name of the batsmen in his books after getting them out. After getting Walton out, he noted the Jamaican’s name and gave him a send-off. Cue their next face-off. With the send-off still fresh in his memory, Walton smacked Williams with utter disdain and mocked his “notebook” after every scoring shot. Talk about taking revenge! The upcoming season promises a lot of more of this madness, and we’re assuming that you wouldn’t want to miss it!
The Superstars of tomorrow
One thing that the CPL has always been an illustrious platform for all the budding youth in the Caribbean to express themselves and showcase their talent and in the recent years, many a young West Indian player have grabbed the opportunity with both hands and have left us in awe of their talent and skills. From Evin Lewis to Rovman Powell to Rayad Emrit to Obed McCoy, season after season, the CPL has given birth to superstars, who have used the tournament as a launchpad for their careers. However, without a shadow of doubt, the trio of Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, and Sherfane Rutherford are the biggest stars to have emerged from the competition, as in their own ways, all 3 have scaled towering heights – either domestically, or internationally. In just over a year, Hetmyer and Pooran have established themselves as two of the most explosive players in the world and have had franchises all over the world running around to get them tied up, while Rutherford made an impeccable impact in his first-ever season of IPL and was instrumental in his side Delhi Capitals reaching the play-offs. Come this season, there will yet again be young stars who will make their name in the competition, and hey, you better keep a close eye on them, as they might just be the surprise package that your IPL team might end up signing next season.
The Golden Generation of Windies’ T20 Cricket
The 1970s and 80s saw the Windies dominate the cricketing world and outclass and dominate their opponents with sheer skill, talent, while also displaying ruthless aggression. That was called the “Golden era of West Indies cricket” and rightly so. However, almost three decades post that, all the dominance was gone, and they suffered an identity crisis of sorts. But then came a spark, a spark called T20 cricket, a spark which ignited West Indian cricket once again. Almost 15 years into its introduction, the West Indians now stand tall as the pioneers of the format, and over the years, have found and formed a golden generation of players in the process. It started with Chris Gayle, who, arguably, is the greatest T20 cricketer of all-time, and has now stretched all the way to the likes of Pooran and Hetmyer. After Gayle came Bravo, after Bravo came Pollard, after Pollard came Sunil Narine, and after Sunil Narine came Andre Russell. One followed the other, the talent never seemed to stop, and in no time, they built a brand, an identity and a dynasty of their own. Age is catching up with the Windies’ golden era of players – Gayle, Bravo, Pollard, Narine, Russell – but one thing you can always be sure of with these players is that they are guaranteed to put on an absolute show whenever they take the field, and come the seventh edition of the CPL, they sure are bound to make you fall in love with the game once again. Cherish them, savour them and celebrate them, for we don’t know how long the fun will last.
The Need for Speed
In T20 cricket, runs, boundaries and sixes are generally the only factors perceived to be “entertaining” but over the course of the last few years, we have clearly seen that it is never the case. Irrespective of the format, there are few sights better than a fast bowler steaming in and bowling at full pace trying to intimidate the batsman. Raw pace combined with hostility and aggression makes the contest an enthralling one to watch, and over the years, the CPL has given innumerable such moments to ponder over. Our mind goes back to last year, when Barbados Tridents’ Mohammad Irfan arguably bowled the greatest spell of fast bowling T20 cricket has ever seen, a spell where he bowled 3 maidens and 23 dot balls in what was an astonishing display of brutal pace bowling. Such was his impact that the batsmen at one point where shouldering arms to his deliveries, something that is unheard of in T20 cricket. To go along with that, the likes of Oshane Thomas, Wahab Riaz, Sheldon Cottrell and Mitchell McClenaghan also turned up the heat and terrorized the batsmen with their pace, and with the pitches being sped up even more, this season of the CPL promises to be a paradise for pace bowling. Game of Thrones might be done and dusted, but hey, you can still get a glimpse of these Dragons called “fast bowlers” breathing fire in the forthcoming edition of the CPL.