Hero CPL Player Draft to be held May month-end
The Player Draft for the ninth edition of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) is expected to be held May month-end, potentially, May 26.
Last year, the Draft was done Virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but CPL’s Chief Operations Officer, Pete Russell, did not disclose whether the same format would apply this season.
Russell was speaking at a Virtual media briefing on Tuesday where it was announced that St. Kitts and Nevis will host all 33 matches of this year’s tournament, which starts on August 28, at Warner Park.
He divulged that there has been considerable player movement within the six franchises.
“I can assure everyone that there has been quite a lot of movement in terms of some of the teams during the closed season so there will be one or two surprises when we come to the Draft.”
The 2020 Draft attracted 537 players and Guyana Amazon Warriors had opted to retain 13 players from the team that went unbeaten during the league stage of the 2019 tournament.
Vaccine for Players and Officials
Russell also clarified that while it would be advisable that players and officials heading to the island are vaccinated, it is not a necessity since there is still the option of quarantine.
“The closer we get to the tournament we will understand better in terms of what transmission rates look like, what sort of bubble requirements are needed on the ground and from a CPL perspective we understand we need to get the cohort vaccinated where possible [but] that is not always going to be the case.”
The COO added, “That is the process we are undergoing right now, making sure that anyone who is working for CPL or playing will be vaccinated, but it is not a requirement they are vaccinated because there is the quarantine option as well.”
Managing Warner Park
During the 2020 tournament, the organisers had the luxury of two grounds- Queen’s Park Oval and the Brian Lara Cricket Academy- but there were criticisms raised about the quality of the pitches as the tournament ran deep.
This year, one venue, Warner Park, will host all 33 matches. Russell said they are confident they can manage the facility to its best.
“Any Agronomist would know, to play 33 games in one venue is going to be challenging, but what we are blessed with in St. Kitts is that they are six grounds around the island, all of which can host the training, so we will be making use of the training facilities which are away from Warner Park,” he explained.
“Effectively, Warner Park will just host the games, and actually one of the largest wear and tear of any ground is when there is practice.”
Russell also said the soil in St. Kitts is “some of the best in the region” and they are confident they can prepare “incredibly good decks” for the players.
A pitch consultant from New Zealand is expected to be in St. Kitts about 10 weeks before the start of the tournament, and will oversee the preparation.