The 2016 HERO Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Player Draft was unveiled at a gala ceremony in Barbados on Thursday, with some of the leading West Indian and international talent set to descend on the Caribbean this summer.
Delegates including West Indies coach Phil Simmons joined representatives from each of the six franchises including owners and coaches as well commercial partners and media to the impressive Concorde Experience.
Speaking in the aftermath of the CPL Player Draft, CEO Damien O’Donohoe commented: “It has been a busy period over the last few weeks for each of the franchise owners. But with the conclusion of the Player Draft today, we can now look forward to staging many mouth-watering contests later this summer in the Caribbean, and for the first time in the USA, with some of the best international talent in world cricket on display.
“There is a strong selection of outstanding international talent, supplemented by the introduction of ‘marquee’ players for each franchise which allies to our biggest roster of local Caribbean players to date, and that remains a cornerstone of the CPL’s strategy to develop West Indies cricket.
“Last year was our most successful campaign to date, where we welcomed over 302,000 fans through the gates, which represented an increase of 44% from the previous season. This year we are going to work even harder to build on this strong platform and engage our growing international audience. It is without doubt our most exciting roster of talent, with some of the biggest names signed up for what is the biggest party in sport.
“We look forward to working with each of the stakeholders, not least the West Indies Cricket Board who have been hugely important supporters of the CPL, to deliver our best season yet.”
Proteas batsman Faf du Plessis will line up for the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots alongside West Indies duo Samuel Badree and batsman Lendl Simmons, Australian international Brad Hodge, retained players Evin Lewis and Tabraiz Shamsi as well as Canada’s Nikhil Dutta (ICC Americas) for the coming season.
Australia’s two-time ICC Cricket World Cup winner Shane Watson will join his former international team-mate Michael Hussey as well as West Indies World T20 captain Darren Sammy at the Zouks. They will team up alongside the likes of Johnson Charles and Andre Fletcher as well as South African paceman Morne Morkel and batsman David Miller.
The highly-decorated former ICC Cricketer of the Year Kumar Sangakkara, meanwhile, will return to the Jamaica Tallawahs after helping them seal the inaugural trophy in 2013 and he will join the electrifying Chris Gayle, Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga, Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and local favourites Andre Russell and Chadwick Walton.
The recently re-named Trinbago Knight Riders will welcome back the number one ICC WT20 international bowler Sunil Narine to their ranks from Guyana and he will be joined by Proteas batsman Hashim Amla and Dwayne Bravo, Kevon Cooper as well as former Black Caps captain and ‘marquee’ player Brendon McCullum who will making his first appearance this summer at the biggest party in sport. Left arm spinner Sulieman Benn and Pakistan wicket-keeper Umar Akmal will also join the Trinidad and Tobago based franchise.
Talented duo Christopher Barnwell and Versammy Permaul will be aiming to provide the local backbone for New Zealand star top order batsman Martin Guptill for the Guyana Amazon Warriors as they bid to go one step further and seal the coveted CPL title which has eluded them on two occasions in 2013 and 2014. They will be joined by the hugely talented Dwayne Smith and Pakistan’s Sohail Tanvir who has moved from the Patriots.
Finally, Barbados Tridents will be spear-headed by the arrival of star Proteas batsman AB de Villiers who will join fellow South Africans Robin Petersen and David Wiese alongside the influential Kieron Pollard, Pakistan’s Shoaib Malik, Ravi Rampaul and Steven Taylor (ICC Americas) who was also retained by the franchise.