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CPL proposing to eliminate spot for Associate players in T20 competition

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On the attack: Delray Rawlins played in the US Open T20 Tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in December along with Bermuda teammate Kamau Leverock (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The Caribbean Premier League is proposing amendments to the popular T20 competition, one of them to eliminate the sole spot in each franchise set aside for ICC Americas players from countries like Bermuda, Canada and the United States.

News of the proposed move was revealed on the Emerging Cricket website yesterday, a change reportedly outlined in an e-mail from CPL organisers to player agents.

Associate players like Christian Burgess of Bermuda, who joined the St Lucia Zouks in the 2015 season and played alongside the likes of Darren Sammy, the West Indies all-rounder, New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor and Kevin Pietersen of England, will now struggle for the opportunity to gain valuable exposure to top level T20 cricket.

Others who benefited from the arrangement included American cricketers like Ryan Persaud, Jasdeep Singh, Shayan Jahangir and Steven Taylor and the Canadian trio of Nikhil Dutta, Nitish Kumar and Saad Bin Zafar.

The most successful of the Associate players was American pace bowler Ali Khan, who joined the Guyana Amazon Warriors in 2016 before switching to the Trinbago Knight Riders in 2018, winning the CPL Trophy twice with them and featuring in the bowling charts.

That led to him securing further T20 franchise deals in the Bangladesh Premier League, the Pakistan Super League and also in the India Premier League with the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2020, when an injury prevented him from playing during that season.

The move by the CPL will also be a blow to the partnership between Cricket West Indies and USA Cricket, who had pledged to work together to develop cricket in the Americas region.

Recently, the ICC awarded the hosting rights for the 2024 T20 World Cup to the USA and West Indies, a joint bid that was prepared two years ago.

Now Associate cricketers in the region will have to compete with seasoned full member players for the five overseas slots on each franchise.

The CPL has enjoyed tremendous success since its launch in 2013, attracting millions of viewers to the exciting shorter version of the game.

Bermuda all-rounders Kamau Leverock and Delray Rawlins recently competed for Florida Scorpions in the US Open T20 Tournament in Fort Lauderdale where the Scorpions reached the semi-finals before losing to US All-Stars by eight wickets.

Both players produced good performances with the bat.

Arnold Manders, the Bermuda Cricket Board president, said at the time that more opportunities is key to improving local cricketers.

“It’s a great opportunity,” the president said. “It’s a good thing and something that we looked for with our strategic plan in helping players get into tournaments like that and probably maybe holding one of them ourselves. Something like an IPL but not as big.”

In full flow: Kamau Leverock followed up his Bermuda debut as captain in the ICC T20 World Cup Americas Qualifier in Antigua in November with participation in the US Open T20 Tournament last month (File photograph by Lawrence Trott)

There have also been talk of expanding CPL to new franchises in New York and Toronto, though the CPL’s venture into the US market did not fare as well as expected, with matches in Florida not generating similar interest.

It is uncertain what impact the move will have on the relationship between Cricket West Indies and the Associate boards in the region and whether it signals the end of playing opportunities in the CPL for ICC Associate players, including those from Bermuda.

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Published January 12, 2022 at 7:33 am (Updated January 13, 2022 at 8:02 am)

CPL proposing to eliminate spot for Associate players in T20 competition

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