CPL 2016 will be the most evenly matched tournament - Damien O'Donohoe
The chief executive of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Damien O’Donohoe is confident that the 2016 edition of the tournament will be the most competitive season yet.
This year, a section of the CPL games will be hosted in the United States of America for the first time with Central Broward Stadium in Fort Lauderdale as the venue.
Speaking at the launch of CPL 2016 in Harvard Cricket Club, Port of Spain on Sunday, O’Donohoe expressed his excitement at the upcoming edition.
"The CPL continues to grow at a fast pace and we are hugely excited about the forthcoming campaign," he said.
"Over the close season, the team has worked hard to help deliver an outstanding product for our incredibly loyal supporters across all six teams.
"And with a new territory opening up in Lauderhill, Florida from 28-31 July, these are exciting times for the growth of cricket in the West Indies."
In the player draft for this season, six of the top names in the game were designated as the marquee players and O’Donohoe feels that all the six teams have formidable squads for the 2016 CPL.
"This year will be the most evenly-matched tournament that we’ve ever had," he predicted.
"All six teams have recruited strongly across the international markets as well as in the West Indies’ own thriving domestic competitions.
"With the introduction of the six ‘marquee’ players – AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum, Kumar Sangakkara and Shane Watson - in each of the franchises, it will undoubtedly add another dimension to the competitiveness and quality of cricket on show."
2016 has already been a historic year for West Indies cricket as the Under-19 team won the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup, and the women’s and men’s teams secured their respective World Twenty20 titles.
O’Donohoe revealed that all six teams in the 2016 CPL will have an U-19 player as a part of their efforts to encourage the young and talented cricketers.
"After the heroics of the West Indies men’s, women’s and Under-19 world title winning squads in recent months, it is a golden era for cricket in the Caribbean and I have no doubt that the future of the game is in good hands.
"Each of our six teams will include an Under-19 representative, reaffirming our commitment to encouraging up-and-coming talent, while the addition of the ICC Americas representatives will also help extend CPL’s reach across North America."
The CPL is widely dubbed as the "biggest party in sport" and O’Donohoe has urged the fans to come out in large numbers and support the upcoming season to make it a grand success.
"In the 2015 season over 90 million people watched the CPL from all four corners of the world and over 300,000 fans came through the turnstiles to show their colours to support their teams.
"CPL, as we know, is the biggest party in sport. It’s ‘Cricket Played Louder’ and, more than that, we see this great tournament as a means of showcasing and celebrating all that is positive about Caribbean culture; from sport to music, to the tourism and the rich history which makes the Caribbean such a popular destination.
"This year we hope to grow even further and we invite as many fans as possible to come and join us on our journey."
The 2016 CPL will get underway when Trinbago Knight Riders take on St Lucia Zouks at home on 29th June.
© Cricket World 2016