Cricket returns: All you need to know about the T10 Vincy Premier League in the Caribbean
Live cricket, which seemed a far shot just a few days back, has returned in the form of a T10 League called the Vincy Premier League, to be held in the Caribbean.
For millions of cricket fans waiting for the sport to resume, there is some good news. Live action, suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, resumes from May 22 as a new T10 League in the Caribbean country of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines gets ready to host the inaugural edition of the Vincy Premier League (VPL).
The T10 tournament will continue from May 22 to May 31 and will host three matches daily. Vanuatu, a Pacific nation, became the first country to host cricket after the pandemic but the VPL will be the first tournament or series to be played in one of the full member nations. To add to the excitement, the player draft has already been announced and includes the names of a few international players as well.
Many would remember medium-pace bowler Kesrick Williams who hogged the limelight for sledging Virat Kohli during a a T20 match with his iconic 'notebook' celebration. Two other West Indian internationals, opening batsman Sunil Ambris and left-arm pacer Obed McCoy, have also been picked.
The tournament is being conducted by the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association (SVGA) under the presidentship of Kishore Shallow, who is also the vice President of the Cricket West Indies.
The tournament has been put together within the last two weeks after Dream11, an India-based prediction company, approached SVGA. Keeping that in mind, the timing of the matches is also unusual, with three matches being played from 8:30 a.m. local time to 2:00 p.m. All the matches will be played at the Arnos Vale Sporting Complex in St Vincent.
It is to be noted that the Caribbean country has registered a total of 18 Covid-19 positive cases till now, 10 of which have recovered. In the absence of any guidelines from the government to rule otherwise, the matches will be open to the public. However, a big crowd is not expected given the scheduled time of the matches.
A total of 72 players have been picked by six franchises, namely Botanic Gardens Rangers, Grenadines Divers, Salt Pond Breakers, La Soufriere Hikers, Dark View Explorers and Fort Charlotte Strikers. The tournament will consist of a total of 30 matches, all of which will be live streamed.
"We came up with this T10 franchise format because of the absence of sports content at this point, and thought that this brand of cricket would be enticing to cricket fans across the globe in a short duration," Shallow told the media at the launch.
VPL will also become the first competition to ban the use of saliva to shine the ball, in line with the ICC ruling.
"No player would be allowed to use any saliva on the ball," Shallow said. "Of course, we will be having different dedicated, assigned spaces around the players' pavilion for teams so that they are not necessarily crowded together. All teams would have their own space where they could practise physical distancing. What we have been doing is managing the risk. So what we plan to do during the tournament is ask spectators to practise social and physical distancing. So they will be sitting at least a few seats apart. And because of the time the matches are taking place, we do not anticipate a massive crowd at the matches."
Shallow confirmed that he had received the go-ahead from the local government and had also formally written to Cricket West Indies, apart from talking to CWI chief executive Johny Grave and CWI cricket operations manager Roland Holder. Shallow is confident of getting a positive response soon.
Here are the squads of all teams:
Marquee Players and Coaches
Botanic Gardens Rangers - Kesrick Williams (marquee); Nixon Mclean (coach)
Grenadines Divers - Obed McCoy (marquee); Ian Allen(coach)
Salt Pond Breakers - Sunil Ambris (marquee); Olanzo Jackson (coach)
La Soufriere Hikers - Desron Maloney (marquee); Irvin Warrican (coach)
Dark View Explorers - Lindon James (marquee); Bertram Stapleton (coach)
Fort Charlotte Strikers - Keron Cottoy (marquee); Kenroy Martin (coach)
Vincy Premier T10 League full squads
Botanic Gardens Rangers: Kesrick Williams (Marquee), Hyron Shallow, Romel Currency, Kenneth Dember, Romario Bibby, Atticus Browne, Oziko Williams, Kimali Williams, Kevin Abraham, Nigel Small, Casnel Morris, Joey Welcome, Ray Charles.
Dark View Explorers: Lindon James, Deron Greaves, Andrew Thomas, Darius Martin, Shammon Hooper, Davian Barnum, Sealron Williaams, Kensley Joseph, Kody Horne, Kemron Strough, Ojay Matthews, Javid Williams, Denson Hoyte.
Fort Charlotte Strikers: Keron Cottoy, Gidron Pope, Ray Jordan, Ronald Scott, Rasheed Frederick, Kirton Lavia, Jahiel Walters, Sealroy Williams, Olanzo Bellingy, Chelson Stowe, Kenroy Williams, Sylvan Spencer, Renrick Williams.
Grenadine Divers: Obed McCoy (Marquee), Asif Hooper, Shem Browne, Anson Latchman, Tijorn Pope, Romano Pierre, Wayne Harper, Geron Wyllie, Razie Browne, Richie Richards, Shammick Roberts, Braxie Browne, Ajex Samuel.
La Soufriere Hikers: Desron Maloney, Dean Browne, Dillon Douglas, Othneil Lewis, Salvan Brown, Rayan Williams, Rawdon Bentick, Casmus Hackshaw, Kenson Dalzell, Jeremy Haywood, Tilran Harry, Kimson Dalzell, Camano Cain.
Salt Pond Breakers: Sunil Ambris (Marquee), Delorn Johnson, Rickford Walker, Donwell Hector, Jeremy Layne, Javid Harry, Benninton Stapleton, Kadir Nedd, Seon Sween, Wesrick Strough, Kevin Peters, Christoy John, Urnel Thomas.
Vincy Premier T10 League full schedule [All times in IST]
May 22, Friday
May 23, Saturday
May 24, Sunday
May 25, Monday
May 26, Tuesday
May 27, Wednesday
May 28, Thursday
May 29, Friday
May 30, Saturday
May 31, Sunday
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