Windies coach hopes CPL produces international players

Bridgetown (Barbados), July 16 (IANS/CMC) West Indies coach Otis Gibson says he is hoping that the upcoming Caribbean Premier T20 League (CPL) will help produce local cricketers capable of handling pressure at the highest level.

Gibson, who masterminded West Indies triumph at last year's Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka, says he is also hoping the CPL will help improve the financing standing of players.

"The one thing I saw watching the IPL this year is fierce competition. International sport is all about fierce competition so hopefully the CPL will produce more guys that are able to handle the pressure of that competition," said Gibson during a recent media conference in Trinidad for the just concluded Tri-Nation Series.

"Hopefully that is what the CPL will do for West Indies cricket, as well as making a lot of players comfortable financially."

Twenty-four matches will be played across the six franchise countries of Barbados, Guyana, Antigua, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago, before the tournament winds up at Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad with the final on Aug 24.

With an impressive array of regional and international stars decorating each side, heated rivalry is expected throughout the CPL, and Gibson said this type of competition could only serve as a boost for West Indies cricket.

"It will help our T20 cricket because you have seen that about eight or nine of our guys are IPL stars," Gibson said.

"Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy, Kieron Pollard, and Sunil Narine are all IPL superstars and we hope that the CPL, while producing more superstars, can produce people that can get used to fierce competition."

The six players identified by Gibson are all regional franchise players for CPL, which opens at Kensington Oval in Barbados on July 30 with what is expected to be a spectacular opening ceremony, followed by the first game between Barbados Tridents and St Lucia Zouks.

Some of the biggest stars in international cricket - including Australian Ricky Ponting, Bangladeshi Shakib al Hasan, New Zealand's Ross Taylor, and Sri Lankan icon Muttiah Muralitharan - are among 90 players contracted to play in the league, with each franchise team comprising 15 players.

--IANS/CMC

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