Six overseas players – one from each team – to look out for when the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020 gets underway.
The Caribbean Premier League will get under way on Tuesday, meaning it’ll be one of the few cricket tournaments to not have to alter its original schedule.
The pandemic has ensured there’s been a dearth of franchise T20 league action, and indeed much cricket, so far this year, when usually, the CPL would have followed the likes of PSL and IPL. Instead, the CPL will act as something of a precursor to a rescheduled IPL this time around, and the interest in the tournament is expected to peak.
Despite the travel restrictions still in place with the pandemic, teams have a few overseas players in their line-up, and as always, they’re expected to play a big role in team’s fortunes. That in mind, we pick out one overseas player from each team you’ll have to watch out for starting tomorrow.
Colin Munro – Trinbago Knight Riders
The New Zealand big-hitter is expected to slot in at the No.3 spot in the Trinbago Knight Riders XI, with Sunil Narine set to open the innings with Lendl Simmons. So strong is the local talent in the Knight Riders squad – apart from Narine and Simmons, they have the Bravo brothers Dwayne and Darren, and Kieron Pollard – that the overseas players in the side have to be really outstanding to match up. Munro is certainly capable of that in the T20 format. Before the Covid-19 lockdown, he was sizzling for Islamabad United in the PSL, scoring 248 runs in eight matches, comprised of three half-centuries, including an unbeaten 87. He must be raring to go after the break.
Chris Lynn – St Kitts & Nevis Patriots
This will be an important tournament for Chris Lynn. The big-hitting Australia missed the last edition of the tournament after signing up for the Euro T20 Slam, which never happened. He has since lost his place in the Australia side, and by the time the next T20 World Cup turns up, he’ll be on the wrong side of 30. If Lynn has to stake his claim for Australia again, he has to start churning out performances, and fast. The CPL will play a big part in that, as will the IPL after this. He will have that fire in his belly, making him one to definitely watch out for.
Imran Tahir – Guyana Amazon Warriors
He is 41 years young, but Imran Tahir is still picking wickets in T20 franchise leagues. Tahir, who retired from international cricket after the World Cup last year, picked 10 wickets in eight matches at the PSL, including a 3-28. With the pandemic ensuring the entirety of CPL 2020 will be played in one country – Trinidad and Tobago, where the pitches are favourable towards spin – expect Tahir to run the length of the outfield a few times in the coming few weeks.
Mohammad Nabi – St Lucia Zouks
The Afghanistan all-rounder was the first to be picked in the virtual CPL 2020 players’ draft last month, taking home a cool $US 130,000. Zouks are a side that lack that standout international superstar following Chris Gayle’s decision to not take part in this year’s tournament due to personal reasons. Nabi can be relied on for some deceptively good off-spin as well as some decent lower-order hitting – he scored 160 runs in six outings in the BBL at the beginning of the year, and also took five wickets. He also comes with vast experience, having played in T20 leagues the world over for many years now.
— CPL T20 (@CPL) August 17, 2020
Rashid Khan – Barbados Tridents
Rashid was scooped up by the defending champions for $US 160,000 in July, and it already has the makings of a canny move. The Queens Park Oval in Port of Spain and the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba will host all the matches this tournament, meaning pitches will increasingly deteriorate as it progress. Those are magic words for spinners. Rashid’s leg-spin has troubled the world’s best batsmen, and in the last T20 franchise tournament he played – the BBL 2019/20 – he took 19 wickets to finish amongst the top seven wicket-takers that tournament. Rashid can make the ball talk on unhelpful pitches, but on deteriorating tracks in T&T, expect him to be a handful.
Sandeep Lamichhane – Jamaica Tallawahs
Nepal’s greatest cricket export fetched a $US 130,000 in the virtual players draft in June, and will be tasked with taking the wickets and keeping the middle overs in check, while Andre Russell goes about doing everything else. Lamichhane picked up 15 wickets in the BBL, and will be foremost among the leg-spinners looking to capitalise on the expected spin-friendly tracks. With the likes of Russell, Carlos Brathwaite and Glenn Phillips in the side, the Tallawahs are well-stocked in every department to regain the title from the Tridents. But Lamichhane, as a specialist leg-spinner, has perhaps the most crucial role in the side.