The latest CPL news includes Kieron Pollard being appointed West Indies limited-overs captain, Guyana losing Shadab Khan and Andre Russell flexing his muscles.

 

CPL News: Trinbago Knight Riders look the real deal

 

Disaster struck for the Knight Riders on the eve of the tournament when skipper and key all-rounder Dwayne Bravo was ruled out of the first few games of the competition with a hand injury. Since then, the CPL news is that he’s been ruled out of the tournament entirely.

 

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Kieron Pollard was the somewhat obvious choice to replace him as skipper and has done a pretty good job so far in his role.  On his watch the winners of the last two editions have won three from three with Pollard marshalling the troops well, shuffling his bowling options sensibly, batting impressively including hitting a rapid 47 not out (en route to becoming the team’s leading scorer with 106 runs) and even taking a wicket with the ball. He’s also gone with the old trick of playing Sunil Narine in the top three with the bowling star of the ‘other’ Knight Riders (the IPL version) smashing an excellent 46 off 22 against the Jamaica Tallawahs.

Kieron Pollard

In fact, so impressive has Kieron Pollard’s captaincy been that he’s been appointed skipper of the West Indies in both ODIs and T20s. In fairness that decision had probably been made before the CPL started but his three games in charge certainly can’t have damaged his chances of getting the role. Which by the way, one suspects has as much to do with the Windies making sure he’s always on board- the minimum one can expect from a skipper is that he shows up- rather than picking and choosing when he plays for his country depending on other T20 commitments round the world.

As ever, Trinbago look the team to beat and are now just into [2.6] with 10CRIC to win a third title in a row.

 

If you’re based in India, 10CRIC is the bookmaker for you. Benefit from a fantastic welcome offer where you can get a welcome bonus of 100% up to ₹10,000 to celebrate the fact that 10CRIC are the exclusive betting partners of the CPL.  10CRIC also have plenty of additional bonuses and promos during the competition, including the chance to win tickets to the CPL2019 final in Trinidad. 

 

CPL News: Is Chris Green a clone of Johan Botha?

Green making his mark

The other team with an 100% record are the Guyana Amazon Warriors.

The gamble to have handed the reins to Chris Green looks to have really paid off. Still only 25, uncapped and with the somewhat strange distinction of never having played a first-class match, he wasn’t the most obvious choice for the captaincy but he’s done extremely well with clever shuffling of the batting order and smart field placements. More importantly, he’s been good when it comes to his own exploits with bat and ball.

Three wickets with an economy rate of seven and just the one knock yielding 28 runs at a strike rate of 187 are a good indication that he’s a genuinely useful all-round cricketer who bears plenty of resemblances to former South African international (and later Australian citizen), Johan Botha.

For starters, Green is Australian on paper but actually South African-born just like Botha is. They’re tall and slim, have a similar bowling action, are quick on their feet in the field and possess good hands, like to bat at eight and enjoy playing unorthodox shots. And just like Botha was, Green is a wily captain.

Shadab out, Tahir in

The latest CPL news is that Green will however have to make do without Shadab Khan for the rest of the tournament after he was ordered to return home due to ‘domestic commitments’. One has to sometimes wonder how much planning goes into T20 franchise recruitment strategy given the possibility of something like this happening went under the radar.

Then again, it was the Pakistan Cricket Board who made the decision and they’re as unpredictable as a Chris Gayle innings these days. Khan has been excellent and exits the tournament as the joint-highest wicket-taker with seven scalps from just three matches. At least Green has an adequate replacement for his spinner in the form of Imran Tahir, who played a huge role in getting Guyana to the final last year and has been in good form for Surrey in the T20 Blast.

Spin Bowler Imran Tahir

Imran Tahir.

Having said that, Tahir offers nothing with the bat while Khan is a good lower-order hitter so the Warriors won’t bat quite as deep from now on.

The smart money is on them and Trinbago contesting the final again, especially given there’s a good chance they’ll finish Top 2 in the Group Stages and will have two bites of the cherry in terms of qualifying for the big one.

It’s not too late to get with Guyana at 3.5 with Betfair to win it this time rather than just being runners-up.

 

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Russell in the mood

 

In other CPL news, Andre Russell looks as fit as he has done in a while.

Sooner or later he and perhaps most importantly the WICB may have to accept that his body simply can’t take the ‘demands’ of 50-Over cricket and that a fit Dre Russ available for T20 cricket is worth a lot more than one involved in ODIs as well but whose body keeps breaking down.

He’s now bowled his full allocation of four overs for two matches in a row- one in the Canadian Global League and then again against Trinbago in the CPL at the weekend.

His bowling was decent but his batting has been even better. These are his last scores, most recent first: 44 off 24, 46 off 20 not out, 43 off 21. But it begs the question many of us have been asking for the past four or five years: if Russell can score that many runs off 20-odd balls, then how many might he score if he came in earlier, at say four, rather than six or seven?

At worst he’d have a few balls to get his eye in, at best 40 balls could be enough or him to get to 100. Quite why the think-tanks of the sides he’s played for haven’t yet worked that out remains a mystery.

But if he’s bowling four overs and back to his best with the bat, he’s always in with a shout for man-of-the-match. 10CRIC make him [8.0]. He’s favourite but that doesn’t mean he’s a bad price.

 

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