It was not an entirely shocking draft on display for the 2021 edition of the Caribbean Premier League, with Faf du Plessis, Chris Morris and Wanindu Hasaranga all being picked. However, elsewhere, there were some surprising decisions, with Smit Patel being picked by the Barbados Tridents.
Six participating teams, 101 players were involved in the 2021 edition of the Caribbean Premier League, on Friday, with all teams with the exception of the Guyana Amazon Warriors picking a 17-man squad. Several cricketers, including Mohammad Amir, Smit Patel and Wanindu Hasaranga, are all set to make their CPL debuts but who picked them?
The two-time winners of the Caribbean Premier League, Barbados Tridents made some surprising picks, with the pick of Indian wicket-keeper Smit Patel, on the MLC contract, which allows him to play in the CPL. However, away from Smit Patel, the franchise made some strong picks in the form of Chris Morris, Mohammad Amir and Thisara Perera, with all of them having made an impact previously in T20 tournaments around the world.
However, the Tridents would be without the services of Rashid Khan, with young Afghan leggie Shafiqullah Ghafari, who picked up 16 wickets in the 2020 U-19 tournament, being picked as a replacement. Alongside Amir, Azam Khan will join the Tridents’ squad as the second Pakistani international, with largely an unchanged squad in other aspects, with Jason Holder set to lead them.
Full squad - Chris Morris, Jason Holder, Thisara Perera, Mohammad Amir, Johnson Charles, Shai Hope, Oshane Thomas, Kyle Mayers, Hayden Walsh Jr, Azam Khan, Raymon Reifer, Justin Greaves, Ashley Nurse, Shafiqullah Ghafari, Nyeem Young, Joshua Bishop, Smit Patel.
Guyana Amazon Warriors
With Nicholas Pooran being picked as their first draft player, the Guyana Amazon Warriors opted to go with an unknown commodity in the form of Afghan spinner, Waqar Salamkheil. The Pakistani duo of Shoaib Malik and Mohammed Hafeez would be reunited at the Warriors, with them being one of the major names for captaincy, after the franchise moved away from Chris Green.
On the other hand, familiar names such as Shimron Hetmyer, Naveen ul Haq, Brandon King, Romario Shepard, Imran Tahir and Chanderpaul Hemraj returned to the setup.
Full squad - Nicholas Pooran, Shoaib Malik, Imran Tahir, Shimron Hetmyer, Mohammad Hafeez, Brandon King, Naveen ul Haq, Romario Shepherd, Waqar Salamkheil, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Odeon Smith, Niall Smith, Gudakesh Motie, Anthony Bramble, Kevin Sinclair, Ashmead Nedd
West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell was naturally the Tallwahs first-round pick (retention) for the 2021 season. The franchise secured the service of the Afghan spinner Qais Ahmed, who would be available for the tournament after they let go of Sandeep Lamichhane, with Mujeeb-ur-Rahman not available for this edition.
The franchise went with the surprise pick of Afghan opener Ibrahim Zadran, who hasn’t quite stepped up the mark in the shortest format. Pakistan’s Haider Ali was also picked by the franchise alongside Jason Mohammed and Shakib Al Hasan.
Full squad - Andre Russell, Shakib Al Hasan, Carlos Brathwaite, Rovman Powell, Haider Ali, Chadwick Walton, Fidel Edwards, Qais Ahmed, Jason Mohammad, Migael Pretorius, Kennar Lewis, Ibrahim Zadran, Veerasammy Peramaul, Abhijay Mansigh, Joshua James, Kirk McKenzie, Ryan Persaud
St Lucia Zouks
In the first-round picks, the Zouks went with a rather unique choice of Faf du Plessis, who is most likely to skipper the side despite the presence of Roston Chase. Interestingly, the Zouks also secured the service of Australian wicketkeeper Matthew Wade and Pakistani left-arm seamer, Wahab Riaz, who now would join Usam Qadir as the second Pakistani player.
On the other hand, seam-bowling all-rounder Keemo Paul, who missed out on a central contract, was also picked by the Zouks alongside English international Samit Patel, while the rest of the squad seems set.
Full squad - Faf du Plessis, Wahab Riaz, Keemo Paul, Matthew Wade, Andre Fletcher, Kesrick Williams, Usman Qadir, Samit Patel, Obed McCoy, Rakheem Cornwall, Mark Deyal, Roston Chase, Javelle Glen, Keron Cottoy, Jeavor Royal, Kadeem Alleyne, Alzarri Joseph
St Kitts and Nevis Patriots
Ahead of the 2021 edition of the tournament, the Patriots did a strong move, bringing in West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Bravo and power-hitter Sherfane Rutherford during the trade window. The Patriots also captured the services of veteran batsman Chris Gayle, who would now give impetus to their top-order.
The franchise’s best-ever result came in 2017, when they won seven out of their 12 games, finishing second. Last season, the franchise finished at the bottom, with just one win in 10 games. However, this season, they have got the services of the Sri Lankan all-rounder Wanindu Hasranga in the setup. With Gurbaz, Gayle and Evin Lewis, the franchise has one of the best top-order setup in the competition.
Full squad - Dwayne Bravo, Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle, Fabien Allen, Rassie van der Dussen, Anrich Nortje, Sherfane Rutherford, Sheldon Cottrell, Wanindu Hasaranga, Devon Thomas, Rayad Emrit, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Colin Archibald, Jon-Russ Jaggesar, Dominic Drakes, Joshua Da Silva, Mikyle Louis
Trinbago Knight Riders
The champions, the side, who breezed past all opposition in the 2020 edition of the tournament had to let go of the all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, who wanted a different challenge. With Kieron Pollard being the first pick (retention), the franchise made minimal changes to the squad, with the arrival of Sandeep Lamichhane and Isuru Udana, in the absence of Fawad Ahmed and Dwayne Bravo.
Windies veteran pacer Ravi Rampaul is also set to return to the competition, for the first time after four years of playing in the English county. However, his last T20 game was in 2019, for Derbyshire in the Vitality Blast, which would leave him rusty. The franchise also has acquired the services of USA international Ali Khan, who was impressive in the competition.
Full squad - Kieron Pollard, Ravi Rampaul, Sunil Narine, Colin Munro, Sandeep Lamichhane, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Khary Pierre, Isuru Udana, Sikandar Raza, Anderson Phillip, Denesh Ramdin, Tion Webster, Akeal Hosein, Jayden Seales, Leonardo Julian, Ali Khan