Country's top cricketers shun JPL T20
Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels, fast bowler Jerome Taylor and all-rounder André Russell are not among a list of 90 players who have been registered to participate in the third staging of Jamaica Premier League (JPL) Twenty20 Tournament.
According to tournament organisers, the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), the trio, who recently returned to the country after the West Indies' ill-fated tour of India - that resulted in members of the one-day team pulling their services - are yet to express an interest to play.
Another West Indies player, opener Chris Gayle, who has been recovering from injury, is also not on the list of registered players.
"The country's current West Indies players have not made themselves available and as such have not been registered to any of the six franchise teams," said tournament director, Oneil Cruickshank, following the launch of the tournament on Thursday at Cuddyz Sports Bar and Restaurant in New Kingston.
"They are, however, eligible," he noted, stating that "once they make themselves available and a franchise is interested in registering them."
The tournament, which is set to bowl off tomorrow across the country, will see five players who have been in and out of the West Indies team participating. They are fast bowler Krishmar Santokie, batsmen Shawn Findlay and Danza Hyatt, wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh Jr and all-rounder David Bernard Jr.
Santokie and Findlay have been registered to play for Mandeville Thunders, Hyatt is with Spanish Town Titans, Baugh Jr at Kingston Hurricanes and Bernard Jr will play with the University Dynamites.
"We are anticipating another good season and some exciting cricket throughout," said JCA secretary, Fritz Harris, at the launch.
The six-week tournament, which will once again be sponsored by the Tourism Enhancement Fund and the Jamaica Tourist Board, will see six town-based franchise teams taking part.
Heading the list of teams are defending champions Montego Bay Sixers, who will be captained by West Indies Under-19 player Ramaal Lewis and feature players from Senior Cup parish association teams St James, Westmoreland, Hanover and Trelawny.
The only exception to the participating teams are inaugural winners and last year's beaten finalists, University Dynamites, whose players hail from the country's colleges and universities.
The winning franchise is slated to take home $1 million and second place $300,000. There are also individual prizes to be won, with the tournament's Most Valuable Player taking home $40,000 and the top batsman, bowler and wicketkeeper each pocketing $20,000.