EDITORIAL: Premier league a success
The inaugrual Limacol Caribbean Premier League has bowled off with an impressive start.
It is a long overdue initiative, given the fact that other leading cricket nations have had similar Twenty20 leagues for some time.
The spectacle that unfolded at Kensington Oval on the opening night of the tournament confirmed that we have all it takes – the exception being the very lucrative pay packages – to rival the Indian Premier League, Australia’s Big Bash, South Africa’s Ram Slam Twenty20 Challenge, England’s Friends Life t20 and the Bangladesh Premier League.
It also confirmed that the mix of cricket and culture can go hand and in hand and signal to administrators and entrepreneurs that another viable option is on the cards in going forward.
Ahead of the tournament, we had some concerns about whether West Indians would embrace the CPL but those fears have now been allayed even if the tournament is still a few days old.
We questioned the wisdom of having the Barbados leg of matches being played at the height of the Crop Over season on the basis that the national festival is so dear to the hearts of Barbadians.
We reckoned that the CPL would have had to take a back seat and would have attracted modest crowds bearing in mind that the average person’s spending power is limited, given the current economic downturn.
We can now reflect and say that was folly since more than 12 000 fans packed into Kensington both on Tuesday night and Thursday night. The buzz that was felt on Fontabelle even before a ball was bowled has not been evident for international matches for many years and the organizers must be commended for the strong marketing push.
We were also concerned about the naming of the six teams. We felt that the names of the islands should not have been attached to the franchises since this could convey the impression that they were national representative teams.
We were, however, disappointed that some would go as far as calling for a boycott of matches because Kieron Pollard, a Trinidadian who is in huge demand for Twenty20 competitions around the world, had been appointed captain of Barbados Tridents.
They should be reminded that Australians Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist were captains of the teams in the IPL and no one made it an issue.
If 12 people chose to stay away from Kensington because Pollard was captain, the more than 12 000 that came tells us that Barbadians have risen above the level of petty insularity that has often derailed West Indies cricket.
To his credit Pollard put aside the negative vibes from the small group of detractors and delivered a telling performance in his first outing for his team, shining under the lights with bat, ball, in the field and with his captaincy.
Our final observation is about the unprecedented level of corporate support the CPL has attracted. Close to 20 entities are involved in the tournament in some way at a time when the West Indies Cricket Board is devoid of sponsors for most of its leading competitions.
Perhaps the regional body can have a word with the CPL to find out its formula for success.