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CPL Can Unify Region


SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

CPL Can Unify Region

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FORMER Jamaica PRIME MINISTER Percival James Patterson believes the inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League (CPL) was a “resounding success” which should have a unifying effect on the region.
The regionalist and champion of the game, who chaired the 2007 Governance Committee on West Indies Cricket, recalled that a professional league was one of the recommendations of the committee’s report.
“Our report stressed the essentiality of developing a professional league to put the West Indies in step with the major playing nations as efforts are intensified to take the region’s cricket to a higher level of performance.
“We wanted a regional league. We wanted it to be possible for teams in CARICOM member states to recruit players from other member states on the same basis as they recruit their own nationals,” he said.
Delivering the 18th Frank Worrell Memorial Lecture on Tuesday night at the Walcott Warner Theatre of the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination, University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, Patterson said the committee could take some satisfaction that “at least one of our brainchildren was allowed to see the light of day”.
Speaking on the topic, Building On Our Unique Heritage For The Full Release Of Abundant Talent, he said one of the highlights of the Twenty/20 tournament was that teams were composed of players from different nations of the Caribbean.
Patterson, who was appointed by the West Indies Cricket Board and the CPL to chair the cricket tournament committee, noted that cricket had been “an important unifying force amid a regional tendency to insularity”.
“It has contributed immensely to West Indian unity from colonial times through Independence to the current era, bringing the region together year after year,” he said.
He however pointed out that not even the most ardent regionalists could fail to notice that “the integration ship is now passing through perilous waters”.
“We can ill afford the masthead, cricket, to become submerged. It is an essential part of our precious legacy.
“It has been a source of upward mobility to people of humble origins in an age when colour, class, race and education have determined success in the Caribbean and around the world.
“It is closely associated with the region’s pride and honour,” he added.
Despite the success and attractiveness of the shortest form of the game, Jamaica’s longest serving prime minister said something had to be done to prevent the demise of Test cricket.
“For most of us who are already beyond the half-century mark in age, the purest form of cricket is still to be found in Test matches. It is there we expect to find the qualities of bowling guile, the art of fine batting, imaginative captaincy, the value of teamwork and the capacity for endurance,” he said.
“In these days where so many people prefer instant gratification and the television audience rather than spectators at the ground generate by far the greatest source of income, how do we maintain the sustenance of the longer game and the primacy of Test cricket? A way has to be found to achieve this.” (NB)

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