Jamaica Tallawahs Captain Christopher Gayle has hailed the historic Lauderhill leg of the 2016 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 tournament.
The series of games, to be hosted at the Central Broward Regional Stadium in Florida, is set to start with tomorrow’s clash between Barbados Tridents and Guyana Amazon Warriors.
The West Indies star says he hopes the six matches can elevate the profile of the competition to a new level as the high-flying Tallawahs get set to do battle in back-to-back games against the in-form St Lucia Zouks on Saturday (12pm) and Sunday (4pm).
“First of all, I think it will be a great atmosphere based on what happened over the last couple of years when the West Indies played New Zealand (in Central Broward Stadium). I think that the CPL will bring out a crowd once again and, you know, with the atmosphere that they’ve seen on TV, I’m sure they’ll want to experience it for themselves. Hopefully we can get a good start on Thursday [tomorrow] and progress over the weekend as well. It should be a good one and I’m looking forward to it as well,” he said.
The prolific left-hander has continued his fine run of form in a competition he has made his own since 2013, and is currently raked in third position in the Hero CPL’s leading run-getters (260 runs in eight games to date at a strike rate of 159.5 and an average of 52).
“And though he is still undergoing treatment on a back injury which has troubled him of late, his strong batting form, coupled with his 23 Hero Maximums [sixes] to date, has reasserted his reputation as one of the game’s most devastating batsmen.
The 36-year-old Tallawahs skipper said that he was pleased with his side’s form that has propelled them to the top of the league table.
“I’m happy on a personal point of view, as well as a team point of view, to actually be at the top of the table. Hopefully we can maintain the momentum which we left in Jamaica to come here to play against the Zouks on Saturday and Sunday. We need to win at least one of the games and then move on to the finals and wait for them in St Kitts and see what happens. The guys have been playing good all-round cricket, so you can’t fault the effort. I just want them to keep the some momentum going.
“They (St Lucia Zouks) are going to be dangerous coming off three wins. Momentum is always good in a T20 game…We’re outside of our home turf now, so it’s going to be a different scenario so we have to make the necessary adjustment now and see what the conditions have to offer us as well. Hopefully everybody can pitch in and be ready for that cause,” Gayle added.
“I’m sure you’ll see some Jamaican flags flying around! The support is actually key for us. It’s going to be interesting as well [because] it’s going to be noisy, it’s going to be a great atmosphere and, at the end of the day, hopefully everybody can walk away happy and move on to the finals in St Kitts.
“It feels like the Caribbean! The sun is out, the beach is just down the road, so I know everybody is looking forward to it. Everybody’s having a good time… It’s good to be back in Florida and I’m looking forward to playing here again. Hopefully this will be a new beginning for CPL and hopefully it will progress in the years to come,” he said.