Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
President of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), Lyndel 'Muddy' Wright, says his administration will be taking steps to sell the existing franchises to companies and investors and include Caribbean players during the staging next season of Jamaica Premier League T20.
The league, modelled off the popular Indian Premier League and the Australia Big Bash, ended last Sunday with the University Dynamites defeating favourites Half-Way Tree Sparks by seven wickets in the final at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium.
"This season was a good start and the plan is to build on the foundation that has been laid and make the JPL bigger and better in years to come," said Wright.
"We plan to approach companies and investors next season with the intention of them becoming owners of the franchise and have Caribbean and international players participating.
"It is a costly dream, but it is one we the JCA believe is necessary if we are going to move the sport forward and try and win back the support of spectators, especially as it relates to a younger generation and women."
The league, which was sponsored by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), through the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), saw the traditional club and parish associations being replaced with eight franchise teams - Kingston Hurricanes, May Pen Earthquakes, Ocho Rios Chargers, Spanish Town Chargers, Mandeville Thunder, MoBay Sixers and the finalists, University Dynamites defeating Half-Way Tree Sparks.
The country's top players, including West Indies representatives Jerome Taylor, Nikita Miller, Danza Hyatt, Krishmar Santokie, were then assigned to the franchises based on the geographic location of their clubs and parish associations.`
"Judging by the response of the various stakeholders that were involved in the league, I think it is safe to say the staging of the first season was a success," Wright explained.
"Players, coaches and managers all said the league was a breath of fresh air and provided them opportunities to improve their game.
"It was also good to see that wherever the games were held there were spectators, who enjoyed the cricket and participated in the proceedings."
Wright, who is also a director of the West Indies Cricket Board, also said he was grateful for the support of the TEF and other minor sponsors, who made the league possible.
"We would like to thank the TEF through the JTB for their support of Jamaica cricket with the JAM T20 last year and the JPL this year, and hope that they will continue their association in years to come."
West Indies and Dynamites batsman and Nkrumah Bonner was named Player of the Tournament, and for his effort claimed $50,000, while young leg-spinner Cassius Burton, who took four for 11 in the final, walked away with the Player of the Final award and $25,000.
The Dynamites, in addition to the winners trophy, took home $500,000, while the Sparks were awarded $200,000 for being runners-up.