Basseterre, St. Kitts – The St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots are set for another Caribbean Premier League (CPL) campaign, securing final roster spots as well as participating in warm-up games.
The team had a warm-up game in Nevis on Saturday, in Antigua on the following day and is scheduled to play a third in the USA against a USA team after they flew to Florida Monday.
“Those would be our three warm-up games, which we believe would give us the appropriate and required practice going into the game…Saturday,” said Richard Berridge, the Patriots’ chief operations officer to reporters at a sponsorship event.
He explained that the team had been facing delays in securing work permits for the players for the United States leg of the tournament.
“We had a few issues with respect to the U.S. work permits, just like everybody else,” he said. “We had a number of delays for extra processing and so forth. However, it hasn’t dampened the spirit of the team. There are guys who have not been able to make it yet, [but] they [will] join us along the way, hopefully by Tuesday.”
He indicated that some of the team had been in camp since July 24 and had made considerable gains since.
“The guys who are here have been working very hard,” Berridge said. “It has been a really nice environment not just working hard, but having fun.”
Berridge also announced that the team had lost four players announced in the original roster. He explained that Australian all-rounder Ben Cutting is injured nd South African Chris Morris didn’t acquire the non-object certificate. Kieran Powell and Alzarri Joseph, who both will be on West Indies duty in England during the CPL, will also miss out. They will be replaced by Pakistani seamer Hasan Ali, who is one of the most exciting young fast bowlers in world cricket; Tonito Willet, the dynamic Nevisian all-rounder; and Pakinstani all-rounder Mohamed Hafeez, who is has played 78 T20 internationals. The final replacement player announced was South African Vernon Philander.
Berridge stated that the franchise is pleased in picking up such excellent players. “We have been fortunate to get such high-quality replacements that more than cover those players that we have lost,” he said. “The Patriots management team feels this is the best squad that we have had going into a Hero CPL season and we are very confident of having a fantastic tournament.”
The minister of sport, the Honourable Shawn Richards, described the CPL as a staple here in St. Kitts and Nevis during the last four years, with the government having signed an agreement up until 2019.
“CPL involves a partnership among many entities and with St. Kitts and Nevis now having its own franchise, that partnership becomes even more important,” he said “The government has made an investment in CPL because of the immense benefits brought to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis. Some of those benefits extend to the tourism sector. Not only do you have thousands of viewers, both locally and internationally, but it represents a significant marketing effort for the government of St. Kitts and Nevis. It also represents an effort in terms of sport’s tourism.”
The CPL bowls off Friday in Florida with the St. Lucia Stars taking on the Trinbago Knight Riders, while action bowls off for the Patriots on the following day against the Guyana Amazon Warriors. The Warner Park leg of the CPL will bowl off Aug. 18 and run to Aug. 23.