Jamaica Tallawahs’ Andre Russell is among the high-profile retentions by franchises ahead of CPL 2021, which is set to be played entirely in St Kitts from September 19. Last April, Russell had called the Tallawahs the “weirdest” franchise that he has played for, saying CPL 2020 would be his last season with them. However, Russell will be part of the Tallawahs again along with fellow allrounders Carlos Brathwaite and Rovman Powell.
As for the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots, who were depleted by Covid-enforced absentees in 2020, they will now be bolstered by the addition of Dwayne Bravo, who has been traded from Trinbago Knight Riders, the defending champions. Bravo will reunite with coach Simon Helmot with whom he had won the CPL for the Trinidad & Tobago franchise in 2015. Helmot had missed the last season for the Patriots after testing positive for the coronavirus, and was subsequently replaced by Courtney Walsh, who is now the head coach of West Indies Women.
“At this stage in my career, I needed a new challenge, which is to work with the young talent for the benefit of Cricket West Indies,” Bravo had said in a statement that was released by TKR. “Also becoming part of a new franchise SKNP will provide me with a new challenge in the CPL. I want to thank TKR for respecting my wishes and for all their support over the years. I also appreciate everything they have done for Trinidad & Tobago in general.”
Batting allrounder Sherfane Rutherford, who has featured in the IPL as well as the PSL, was also traded to the Patriots, from the Guyana Amazon Warriors. Fabian Allen, who had been ruled out of CPL 2020 after missing his flight from Jamaica to Barbados, has been retained by the Patriots along with fellow West Indies internationals Evin Lewis, Sheldon Cottrell and Joshua da Silva.
While the Knight Riders retained the core of their squad, including the spin trio of Sunil Narine, Akeal Hosein and Khary Pierre, they released New Zealand wicketkeeper-batter Tim Seifert. Instead, they welcomed back Denesh Ramdin, who had been traded to the Patriots ahead of CPL 2020. Ramdin has been a vital part of the Knight Riders’ victorious campaigns in the past.
Australian legspinner Fawad Ahmed and Indian legspinner Pravin Tambe, who became the oldest CPL debutant at 48, however were left out of the list.
The Guyana Amazon Warriors will have a new captain in the forthcoming season after Chris Green was not retained by the franchise. Green has led the franchise in 15 games, winning eight and losing seven. Nicholas Pooran, who produced the only century in CPL 2020, which came off a mere 45 balls at a strike rate of 222.22, though, was retained by the Amazon Warriors along with the likes of West Indies opener Brandon King, young Afghanistan quick Naveen-ul-Haq and veteran South Africa legspinner Imran Tahir.
The St Lucia Zouks, too, will have a new captain this season after Daren Sammy, who had inspired the side to a runners-up finish last year, had stepped down from the role. Sammy, a two-time T20 World champion, is yet to confirm his retirement from all cricket, but has not played since the 2020 CPL final, and is now head coach at his PSL franchise, Peshawar Zalmi.
Roston Chase, who had recently missed out on a West Indies central contract, though was retained by the franchise, as were Kesrick Williams, Obed McCoy, and Rahkeem Cornwall. Chase had played a mere five T20s before CPL 2020, but on the slow, low tracks in Trinidad, he established himself as a permanent member of the Zouks’ XI. Sammy often matched up Chase’s offspin with left-handers, and he also played his part with the bat by anchoring the innings.
The Afghanistan pair of Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan, however, were not retained by the Zouks and the Barbados Tridents respectively. The Zouks’ coach Andy Flower indicated that the Afghanistan players will be “busy with [international] series and they aren’t being retained for those reasons.”
Mitchell Santner and Scott Kuggeleijn, who made their CPL debuts last season, were also released by the Tridents and the Zouks respectively. The New Zealand pair are likely to be on international duty in the subcontinent during the CPL. Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Hayden Walsh Jr. and Kyle Mayers were among the nine players retained by the Tridents.
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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