‘Different times, different Tallawahs’ - Franchise CEO explains rationale behind this season’s CPL draft picks
Jamaica Tallawahs Chief Executive Officer Jeff Miller says that the team was not looking to find a marquee player to replace former captain Chris Gayle as he is “irreplaceable”. However, the idea behind the players drafted was to build a solid enough team to go far in the Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 competition this season.
“You never replace a Chris Gayle,” Miller told The Gleaner. “We could only select whatever players were available in the draft.”
The squad was named on Monday and featured many players who are not only experienced, but well known around the region. But some fans and pundits, including former national cricketer Nehemiah Perry, believe that the team lacks “big names” who could generate excitement about this season.
“It is not one of those squads like before, where you have some powerhouses in the squad like a Gayle, [Kumar] Sangakkara, etcetera,” Perry said. “It is not like that. You have some new faces, but you also have experience still there in Andre Russell, Rovman Powell, and Glenn Phillips, who have played a couple seasons now.”
But Miller said that the economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic also meant that the team had to cut costs, especially as there are no gate receipts to be gained this year, with all games being played in Trinidad and Tobago.
“There’s no gate receipts, there’s no sponsors, there’s no merchandising, no concessions,” he said. “That definitely is a big loss for the franchise. It was a challenge because we’re playing in Trinidad only, and when games are playing in Trinidad only, you have to look at your team selection from a different perspective. Now you’re playing in one or two venues for the whole tournament. That is mostly a spin-friendly environment, so you have to level out the make-up of your team.”
The Tallawahs added four spinners to the team as a result. They are Nepalese leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, South African left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi, Guyanese left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul, and American leg spinner Ryan Persaud. Sling-bowler Fidel Edwards was also drafted, and Perry said it was a pleasant surprise to see his name.
“He’s been playing some cricket and been pretty fit,” Perry said. “He still could bring some pace to the team, with Oshane Thomas.”
The competition will run from August 19 to September 26.