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Exciting Insights for the Caribbean Premier League 2023

Jamaica Tallawahs

Where they finished: Champions (2022), 5th place (2021), Losing semifinalist (2020)

Overseas signings: Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Chris Green, Ben Cutting, Alex Hales

In 2022, the Tallawahs astonished everyone by winning three Play Off matches in four days and claiming their third Caribbean Premier League championship, following seasons of mediocre results on the field and off-field turmoil that led to the eventual departure of their stalwart Andre Russell. With the exception of their charismatic captain, Rovman Powell, who was traded to Barbados Royals in the offseason, the Tallawahs have retained the majority of their winning nucleus from the previous season. The architects of their Playoff victories from last year, Brandon King and Shamarh Brooks, have not been in the greatest of form, nor has their overseas signing Alex Hales, who will not arrive until he has fulfilled his Hundred obligations. Imad Wasim, who has been in red-hot form in T20s this year, will be the key to holding together the top and lower order, while Mohammad Amir will lead the pace attack. Tallawahs would also require Nicholson Gordon, who led the Super 50 competition in wickets taken, to stand up in an otherwise inexperienced pace unit.

Likely starting XI: Brandon King, Kirk McKenzie, Raymon Reifer, Shamarh Brooks, Amir Jangoo (WK), Imad Wasim*, Fabian Allen, Chris Green*, Mohammad Amir*, Shamar Springer, Nicholson Gordon

Barbados Royals

Where they finished: Runners up (2022), 6th place (2021), 5th place (2020)

Overseas signings: Donovan Ferreira, Laurie Evans, Roelof Van Der Merwe, Maheesh Theekshana/Qais Ahmad

The Royals, the best team in the CPL 2022 and the only team to win more than fifty percent of their league games, were unfortunate to have one of their worst days of the tournament occur in the finals. The strategy to move away from all-around heavy teams for the 2020 and 2021 seasons in favor of acquiring specialists proved especially fruitful, as each of their international recruits contributed in their designated roles. The addition of Rovman Powell strengthens their local talent pool, while Laurie Evans and Donovan Ferreira replace Quinton de Kock and David Miller. Kyle Mayers and Rahkeem Cornwall can get them off to a quick start in the Powerplay, and Alick Athanaze is anticipated to shine in his first CPL appearance. Mujeeb-ur-Rahman has a similar replacement for Maheesh Theekshana, who will miss the majority of the tournament due to commitments in the LPL and Asia Cup: Qais Ahmad.

Likely starting XI: Kyle Mayers, Rahkeem Cornwall, Alick Athanaze, Kevin Wickham, Rovman Powell, Donovan Ferreira (WK)*, Jason Holder, Roelof Van Der Merwe*, Maheesh Theekshana/Qais Ahmad*, Obed Mccoy, Ramon Simmonds (Presuming Laurie Evans will arrive only after The Hundred, though no official confirmation yet)

St Lucia Kings

Where they finished: 4th place (2022), Runners up (2021), Runners up (2020)

Overseas signings: Faf du Plessis, Sikandar Raza, Peter Hatzoglou, Sean Williams, Chris Sole/Bhanuka Rajapaksa

The St. Lucia Kings reversed their fortunes during the Covid era, qualifying for the Playoffs in three consecutive seasons after having done so only once in the previous seven years. In addition to finishing as runners-up in 2020 and 2021, Faf du Plessis led the Kings to a fourth-place finish in 2018. Du Plessis has been in excellent form in the Twenty20 circuit, despite his poor performance in the Major League Cricket, and his partnership with Johnson Charles makes them the finest opening tandem in the competition. Zimbabwe’s duo of Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza will offer both form and experience to a middle order devoid of marquee homegrown players. Alzarri Joseph and Chris Sole, until the latter is replaced by Bhanuka Rajapaksa, give the team a significant advantage with the new ball. Matthew Forde has impressed in LPL 2022 and the recently concluded Global T20 in Canada, where he tied for the most wickets, and the Kings would like him to continue this form in his second season in the CPL.

Likely starting XI: Faf Du Plessis*, Johnson Charles (WK), Sean Williams*, Roston Chase, Sikandar Raza*, Roshon Primus, Shadrack Descartes, Alzarri Joseph, Chris Sole*, Jeavor Royal, Matthew Forde

Guyana Amazon Warriors

Where they finished: 3rd place (2022), Losing semifinalist (2021), Losing semifinalist (2020)

Overseas signings: Rahmanullah Gurbaz/Mohammad Haris, Saim Ayub, Azam Khan, Imran Tahir, Dwaine Pretorius

Never the bride, only the attendant. Guyana, the only team that has reached the Playoffs/semifinals every year but has yet to win a trophy, will be expecting to overcome the final obstacle this time around. They have maintained their strategy of filling their squad with spinners and batsmen from the subcontinent who are skilled spinners. Imran Tahir, who has taken the most wickets in the last three CPL seasons, will lead the spin attack alongside Gudakesh Motie, Kevin and Junior Sinclair. The all-round trio of Romario Shepherd, Keemo Paul and Odean Smith will be in charge of the seam department in addition to bolstering the lower middle order. Azam Khan and Saim Ayub are two excellent spinners in Guyana’s middle order. Warriors have the advantage of playing the knockouts at their home ground in Providence and would ideally like it to remain loyal to its colors and bring their spinners into action, something that did not occur last season and cost them dearly.

Likely starting XI: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (WK)*, Saim Ayub*, Shai Hope, Azam Khan (WK)*, Shimron Hetmyer, Romario Shepherd, Keemo Paul, Odean Smith, Kevin Sinclair, Gudakesh Motie, Imran Tahir*

St Kitts & Nevis Patriots

Where they finished: 5th place (2022), Champions (2021), 6th place (2020)

Overseas signings: Dewald Brevis, Ambati Rayudu, Corbin Bosch, George Linde, Izharulhaq Naveed

If ever a team had athletes seeking a platform to advocate for selection to the national team, it would be the Patriots. In the recent past, Evin Lewis, Andre Fletcher, Sherfane Rutherford, Sheldon Cottrell, and Oshane Thomas all played for the West Indies, but they are presently out of favor. Dominic Drakes and Yannic Cariah are also on the periphery of West Indies’ white ball rosters, but they are far from certain selections. After two seasons with the Patriots, former captain Dwayne Bravo has returned to his native team, Trinbago, and is no longer a member of the Patriots. If the loss of Tristan Stubbs slightly weakened their middle order, the potential loss of Dewald Brevis, who received his first international call-up in the home series against Australia, would be a near-fatal blow. The bowling attack is diverse but lacks quality, with the spin department being among the weakest in the competition.

Likely starting XI: Evin Lewis, Andre Fletcher (WK), Dewald Brevis*, Sherfane Rutherford, Ambati Rayudu*, Corbin Bosch*, Dominic Drakes, George Linde*, Yannic Cariah, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas

Trinbago Knight Riders

Where they finished: 6th place (2022), Losing semifinalist (2021), Champions (2020)

Overseas signings: Martin Guptill, Rilee Rossouw, Matheesha Pathirana, Noor Ahmad

Prior to the previous edition, a few other teams matched Knight Riders on paper. Nonetheless, they surprisingly continued to complete the wooden utensil receptacles. Trinbago becomes even more formidable with the return of their most successful captain, Dwayne Bravo, after a two-year exile with the Patriots, and the Knight Riders have over 2100 T20 caps between Pollard, Bravo, Narine, and Russell. Pooran, Pollard, and Russell’s recent batting form augurs well for them, making the Knight Riders’ middle order the most potent in the tournament. Knight Riders have struggled with their top order batting over the past couple of seasons as they search for a replacement for Lendl Simmons. The trio of Narine, Hosein, and Noor Ahmad gives them the greatest spin bowling attack ever assembled in a CPL squad, while the addition of Pathirana gives the pace attack a dimension that CPL has often lacked in recent years – that of sheer pace.

Likely starting XI: Martin Guptill*, Mark Deyal, Rilee Rossouw*, Nicholas Pooran (WK), Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, Akeal Hosein, Sunil Narine, Matheesha Pathirana*, Jayden Seales


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