Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Tallawahs strong enough to win CPL - Sangakkara

Published:Thursday | June 23, 2016 | 6:00 AM
Sangakkara

KINGSTON (CMC):

Kumar Sangakkara has praised the make-up of the Jamaica Tallawahs squad and believes the franchise will be serious contenders in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) set to bowl off next Wednesday.

The Sri Lankan batting star is one of several outstanding international Twenty20 stars who will line-up for the 2013 champions for the June 29 to August 7 campaign.

"I think the rest of the squad is very good. You have the 'Universe Boss' (Chris Gayle) playing for us so that helps," Sangakkara said.

"Andre Russell has been an amazing player in the shortest versions of the game. He's an unbelievable athlete and I remember in that (2013) semi-finals and final, when I did play, he was the defining player of the tournament.

"He won us those two games, along with Chris in the finals, so you have a great core."

He added: "You have Chadwick Walton, Shakib Al Hasan and you have Alex Ross from Adelaide coming in and Imad Wasim from Pakistan. So, the squad of local and foreign players is a nice mixture.

"But in any tournament, the real difference in the squad is made by the majority players who are the local players. So from our left-arm spinners to our all-rounders, to the fast bowlers and to the great West Indians like Chris and Andre, it's going to be a very good collective effort if you're going to get to the final and maybe win again.

"That's the ambition and I'm sure everyone will have a great time trying to get there."

Sangakkara has fond memories of his time with Tallawahs when they captured the CPL title in the tournament's inaugural season.

In fact, the left-hander struck an unbeaten half-century in his very first game as Tallawahs booked their place in the final with a seven-wicket victory over Barbados Tridents in the first semi-final.

One of the most sought-after T20 players worldwide, Sangakkara said he was eagerly looking to reuniting with the Kingston-based unit.

"I'm very happy to be back at the Tallawahs. I have some great memories ...," the 38-year-old said.

"Everyone had fun, everyone had a lot of non-cricketing stars that came along to watch the cricket, who had a love for the game. And there was a lot of passion from the followers.

"But the stand-out was the cricket. In any tournament, if the cricket you put on the field is the best you can display, it goes a long way in establishing the tournament as a marquee event."

Tallawahs will get their season underway when they clash with St Kitts and Nevis Patriots on July 2, in the opening game of the Basseterre leg.