Missed flights, personal issues, ‘unfair advantages’ make for a strange CPL

By August 14, 2020

The Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) over the course of seven years has cemented its place in my heart as one of my favourite competitions.

This year, there almost was none, but the administrators of the CPL adapted, showing a willingness to innovate and Trinidad and Tobago, maybe not for the best reasons, stepped in to help fill the breach.

With travel restrictions the order of the day, with COVID-19 cases worldwide rising to more than 21 million cases, with more than 760,000 deaths, the CPL could easily not have happened.

Players in the Caribbean who ply their trade in T20 leagues all over the world have been, in a word, stuck.

This is why it is incredulous to me, how one of these players managed to miss his flight.

Fabian Allen would have missed tournaments after the shutdown of sport and should have been anxious to get back onto the field.

Mixing up the time of the only flight that would allow him to take part in the tournament seems careless on somebody’s part.

Then there was also an announcement that Ramnaresh Sarwan would not be taking up coaching duties with the Jamaica Tallawahs this season.

That announcement was in addition to an upheaval in the Tallawahs that began with Chris Gayle’s distasteful movement to the St Lucia Zouks and Andre Russell’s declaration that this would be his last season with the Tallawahs.

Eventually Gayle would pull out of the tournament altogether, leaving a star-shaped gap in the competition.

Spare a thought for the Zouks though, who, while having good players in their roster, seem to be lacking some star power.

Then there was more controversy once the teams got to Trinidad and Tobago.

Apparently, the local T&T players were not subject to the same protocols as visitors and those visitors got pissed.

Daren Sammy, skipper of the Zouks, was most vocal about this, saying no team should have had the advantage of being allowed to train early because they were not yet in the isolation of the bubble at the Hilton Hotel.

In addition, Sammy and others felt the longer the locals were allowed to stay outside of the bubble, the greater the chances of their entry being unsafe for those already in the bio-secure environment.

Chief of CPL operations Michael Hall sought to reassure the other teams, however, that all precautions were taken to make sure the entrance of the T&T players into the bubble was safe.

So, with just about four days to go before the start of the tournament, things don’t look great.

And the CPL, while producing great cricket, has been a big seller because it showcases the self-proclaimed greatest party in sport.

But can the tournament stand just on the performances of the players?

Can the worldwide acclaim it has garnered still be guaranteed without the fans?

Can the pitches in the twin-island republic where the entire tournament is to be played, stand up to the rigours of as many games as will be played on them?

Whatever the case, just as the West Indies were the first team to stand up for cricket during these uncertain times, the CPL has stood up for the franchise format the world over.

If the CPL can manage to answer these questions in a positive way, then cricket might just come out on the other side of COVID-19 smelling like roses.

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

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