A life of extraordinary wisdom in service of God and people
August 31, 2018
A Church in Service to the Nation
August 31, 2018

Some thoughts on CPL

Mark Chapman,  New Zealand batsman plays for the St Lucia stars in CPL 2018. Photo from sportsmax.tv

There are a couple of things that strike me in this HERO Caribbean Premier League (CPL) tournament that are either good or bad for West Indian cricket.  In the Indian Premier League (IPL) only four non-Indian players are allowed to play in any one game.  In the Big Bash in Australia only two can play at a time.  There are sound reasons for this.  One might say that it is the foreign superstar who is going to draw the crowd and so be it; there is nothing wrong with that but there must be a limit.

For instance has any cricket fan stopped to wonder why Indian players are not involved in any t20 competitions in the world except their own? Why is Virat Kohli or Ravichandran Ashwin or any of the India star performers like Ishant Sharma not involved?  It is because they are banned by the Board of Control for Cricket in India from taking up t20 contracts outside of India.  These officials see it as diluting the effect of their players in their very own competition.  They also have a rule that at least two cricketers on a team must be youngsters, I believe the age is under 21, from the local state.  This is to help with the development of young local players.

It is something good to have top-class foreign players supplementing the local franchise but two things come to mind.  Firstly, the players must be top class and not the average type, there are too many ordinary, below-average cricketers included in the CPL who can’t pass as crowd pullers.  And secondly, there ought to be an age restriction on the young, foreign players given contracts excluding those under 25 for instance. Those youngsters gain from the exposure plus the experience of playing in the West Indies which will benefit their country and not the West Indies.  Hence it will be detrimental to Caribbean cricket in the long run.

Four first-class overseas cricketers per team are sufficient to help build interest in the cricket and revenue at the gate.  It was four in the CPL up to 2017 and there is no fair reason that it should have been increased this year.  Mark Chapman, Adam Zampa, Qais Ahamad, Tom Cooper, Anton Devcich, Rassie van der Dussan are some of the youths and unknown foreign cricketers in our midst participating in the CPL 2018.

The tournament is well organised and it is a splendid competition.  My main point here is that there must be protective measures in place for the future of West Indies cricket.  Those youngsters from these foreign cricket lands would be coming back some day to play for their countries and would already have experience of Caribbean pitches, home crowds and the type of atmosphere to expect when playing in the Caribbean; while those who are beneath the accepted standard should not be in the team before better local players. Let’s have the superstars by all means but not at all costs! I’m against the very youthful ones not yet dry behind the ears that have not yet made their name in cricket, in addition to the unknowns who missed the boat and were never superstars or icons.

Look at all the international t20 competitions worldwide and one would notice there are neither unknown youths nor average players from outside their own country invited to play in those tournaments.  The matches themselves are getting tougher to do every day.   There are good bits and pieces of cricket being played but far and in-between.  Some of the batting is so bad it makes one wince. Then there are excellent performances that reveal the art of cricket but too seldom does it come to the surface. When cricket is reduced to limited overs per team then it is completely at opposites to the derivation of the essence of the game which is really for one team to bowl out its opponent then put together more runs for a win. That proves the better or more skilful team and not a game where one has to take off a bowler, although bowling extremely well, because he has reached his limit.

Thus with limited overs, anxiety sets in: batsmen worry about overs dwindling, and then they tend to get themselves in tangles to score quickly. Inelegant, awkward and ugly strokes are the result of this panic!  Bowlers struggle as well and with that same anxiety which they suffer, wides are bowled which in turn means the batting side benefits by having extra balls to face that could multiply into overs.  It is a pressure cooker situation for the cricketers and not the fun one might tend to think.

The fans love it though and that’s what matters to the organisers!