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TKR: The worthy champions

Thursday, September 20, 2018
Colin Murray

The Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) unfortunately came to an end last Sunday with, as I predicted, the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) winning the title comfortably from the Guyana Amazon Warriors (GAW).

Let’s try and look back on the performances of the teams in this tournament and see just how West Indies cricket is benefitting from the CPL.

TKR was easily the best team. Importantly for them, the international players continue to perform with distinction. Colin Munro continues to defy the odds and somehow wins "Player of the Tournament" and scores the most runs when there are bigger name players in the competition.

Look at the rest of the international line up that performed superbly - Brendon McCullum: 343 runs, Ali Khan: 16 wickets, Fawad Ahmed: 22 wickets, then the locals in Darren Bravo, Khary Pierre, Denesh Ramdin and Sunil Narine.

It appears that the TKR franchise looks after their players and treats them like family. A player will perform if he feels wanted and cared for. As a franchise, TKR wins simply because their players possess a notable passion which the others don’t seem to have.

Guyana Amazon Warriors lost their captain Shoaib Malik early in the tournament which somewhat weakened their batting.

However, young Shimron Hetmyer was brilliant and if this young man puts his act together and works hard at his game, he will be a brilliant cricketer. He still has some basic faults to correct but at 21 years old, he is one for the future of West Indies cricket. I also like the look of young Sherfane Rutherford and I hope he can settle down and play the longer version of the game.

Their internationals performed credibly well with Imran Tahir performing somehow exceptionally well. Sohail Tanvir and Chris Green need to get more wickets while Luke Ronchi and Cameron Delport need to score close to 400 runs for them to take the title.

Their local players were sporadic in their performances and needed to be more consistent. I also felt it was a huge mistake in sending Chadwick Walton down the order as he plays the pace more fluently than the spin, hence both himself and Delport failed in the final.

It, however, remains a troubling sign to reach the final four times and fail at winning each time. Is it too much pressure on their players and the nerves get the better of them?

St Kitts and Nevis Patriots did better than anticipated. Their main weapons in Chris Gayle, who led the team well, and Evin Lewis did not really fire off and they never got a good start to build a proper foundation.

Lewis’ form was particularly worrying and it may all be in his mind rather than in his ability. He should seriously consider going for help to get his mind more focused on cricket.

Their overseas players also never clicked. This is where credit has to be given to Dwayne Bravo who seems to have a great eye for talent. All the franchises should take a page out of TKR’s book and get quality international players to compete against the TKR. Otherwise, they will always finish second best. Fabian Allen was underused and Brandon King only played one inning of substance.

The Jamaica Tallawahs under-achieved as I thought they were the second-best team on show. Their overseas players were good and Glenn Phillips was outstanding. Ross Taylor and David Miller should have scored more runs while Colin de Grandhomme was greatly underutilised.

Andre Russell had the innings of the tournament and Rovman Powell finally came of age in the CPL. In the end, they missed the bowling of Imad Wasim but they found an outstanding youngster in Oshane Thomas. Russell at times got too emotional with his captaincy, and they gave away games which cost them dearly. They should have finished joint top with the TKR. Playing “home” games in Florida also cost them vital points.

The St Lucia Stars (SLS) were disappointing. Too much responsibility was put on the broad shoulders of skipper Kieron Pollard. David Warner was a shadow of himself and "Polly" needs to go out there and draft two international batsmen of class who will score heavily or they will play from now until thy kingdom come and even Jesus Christ won’t be able to help them.

Some of the local players (where did Daren Sammy go) did well only in a couple of the games. Young Obed McCoy can be worked on and he will improve. Their bowling was also very inconsistent so the SLS have a lot of work to do in the draft.

Finally, the Barbados Tridents were just terrible. How can a team with such talented individuals both locally and internationally perform so poorly?

Steve Smith, Hashim Amla and Martin Guptill were on holiday, therefore the bulk of the batting lay on the shoulders of Nicholas Pooran and Shai Hope; it was just too much of a burden for them. Their bowling was good, they may have lacked a world class spinner, but when only two of their batsmen scored over 200 runs, one can easily assess the problem.

Next week we will look at the umpiring, the venues, the death bowling, the points system (including net run rate) and the captaincy of the teams.

Congrats to DJ Bravo and his Riders. You certainly sped away comfortably with the title!


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