CPL looking at scenarios to have “safe and deliverable” tournament

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By Avenash Ramzan

As global sports continue to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, discussions surrounding the hosting of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (Hero CPL) are still ongoing.

The 2020 tournament is slated to be held between August 19 and September 26.

A CPL spokesperson, in an invited comment to News Room on Friday, said: “CPL are looking at a number of scenarios that allow the tournament to go ahead in a way that is both safe and deliverable. Our plans are not yet finalised, but we are working flat out to get to a point where we can tell our fans what we have in place. As soon as we are able to do so we will let you know the full details.”

On Friday, the Trinidad Guardian reported that the tournament could be played solely in Trinidad and Tobago during the original window.

The article stated: “Guardian Media Sports has been reliably informed that the CPL will present a proposal to Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley and his cabinet for T&T’s consideration as host for the eighth edition.

The CPL is proposing to play four matches a day in T&T, two at the Queen’s Park Oval in St Clair, Port-of-Spain and two at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, San Fernando. The final of the tournament was always carded for T&T, as has been the case for the last two editions.”

The CPL spokesperson did not confirm whether that was one of the scenarios being looked at.

In April, CPL organisers had announced that the tournament can still take place as scheduled, but plans are being developed to stage it behind closed doors, without overseas players, or in a “social-distancing stadium” in Barbados if required.

Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, Chief Operations Officer Pete Russell said he hoped that staging the tournament as planned could be “a sign that the Caribbean is open for business again” once the worst effects of the pandemic have passed.

“It’s good that the Caribbean has locked down early, and it hasn’t been hit in the same way as the UK, for example,” Russell said. “We’re looking at different permutations in terms of what could or couldn’t happen, but the lucky thing is that we’ve got a bit of time – we don’t have to force a decision.

“I don’t think there’s any question that we’ll be able to play it. We’re only going to play if it’s safe to do so, but we’ve been approached by a lot of the countries who want it to happen. The reason [for that] is that it’s a big sporting event, and it could act as a sign or a marker that the Caribbean is open for business again.”

To date, all six franchises have announced their Caribbean retained players, and in some instances, their Emerging Players. The remainder of the squad would be finalised at the Player Draft, at a date to be announced.

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