Believe it or not, the West Indies were in the perplexing situation of having this year’s semifinals and finals of their Caribbean Premier League 20-20 championship staged in either far away Dubai in the United Emirates or closer but still outside the region in the United States of America.
This on the disclosure yesterday by the League’s chief executive officer Damien O’Donohoe who announced that Trinidad and Tobago has secured the rights ahead of competing venues Dubai and the USA to host both decisive stages of the competition.
The preliminary stages of the event which gets underway on June 21st ending on July 26th and featuring six franchises will roll around the Caribbean before the final-stage move to Trinidad.
T&T, home to the Red Steel franchise, will host seven matches, including the CPL final dubbed Super Bowl of the Caribbean.
“We actually had bids from outside of the Caribbean to host the finals, but Gerry (T&T former minister of tourism, Gerald Hadeed) was insistent that we brought it back here to Trinidad and Tobago,” said O’Donohoe during a press conference at the Ministry of Tourism.
“It was actually two countries (that bid to host the semi-finals and final). One was going to be the United States and the next one was going to be in Dubai.”
O’Donohoe told reporters that taking the competition into the US market remains a goal of CPL, which officials say has been growing in popularity after two seasons.
“We were in discussions to take some games over there … that is the future,” he explained.
“I have always said and it was always part of the plan to take the CPL into the US because we believe we have the best platform, and we all know if you can make any traction in the US, the scale that they have changes things considerably.”
The Guyana Amazon Warriors, the defending champions the Barbados Tridents, the St Lucia Zouks, the Jamaica Tallawahs, the new St Kitts/Nevis franchise and the TT Red Steel are the units for the competition which is in its third year this year.
The teams are loaded with a number of big names overseas players including the likes of New Zealanders Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill, Sri Lankans Lasith Malinga and Thisan Perrera, ex-English star Kevin Petersen Pakistanis Shahid Boom Boom Afridi