St John's, Antigua — President of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Whycliffe 'Dave' Cameron says he is very pleased with the success of the inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League (LCPL) T20 Tournament so far, and impressed with the response the league has received both regionally and internationally.
The WICB signed an agreement with LCPL with the goal of further developing and strengthening West Indies cricket by expanding the global fan base, as well as increasing the number of West Indian cricketers under regional retainer contracts, and showcasing the talent and beauty of the Caribbean internationally. Cameron says he believes these objectives are being met.
"The support of the Limacol CPL by the West Indian fans has been overwhelming and this is evidenced by the sold-out crowds at each and every match so far. That says to me that the interest and passion for the game is still there, and it's our responsibility to continue to nurture that love which is what the LCPL is all about," said Cameron.
"In addition, the entire world has come to play through the global reach and appeal that the tournament has achieved. The combination of some of the best regional and international T20 players with the amazing carnival, party-like atmosphere for which the Caribbean is renowned has turned the eyes and ears of the world to our shores, and we could not be more pleased about that exposure."
The Limacol CPL is being broadcast on television in India, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean and the USA, reaching millions of viewers through such networks as ESPN3, Fox Sports, BT Sports and Sony. ESPN Caribbean also produces a weekly highlights show of the tournament, which airs on the ESPN Caribbean television network and online at ESPN Play. In addition, the Line and Length Radio Network offers live ball-by-ball commentary of all the matches, which airs on 22 radio stations in the English-speaking Caribbean and reaches over 850,000+ listeners.
The Limacol CPL has also developed a strong presence on social media networks Facebook and Twitter, with thousands of fans and followers keeping up to date on the latest news and match information from the six franchise teams. Celebrities such as actor Mark Wahlberg - part-owner of the Barbados Tridents - and Virgin Group Chairman Sir Richard Branson - sponsor of the Antigua Hawksbills team - who tweet about the tournament have added to the interest.
Cameron said that he is impressed by the hidden talent that is emerging as a result of the league.
"Players like young Nicholas Pooran (Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel) and the likes of Rayad Emrit (Barbados Tridents), Sheldon Cotterell (Antigua Hawksbills) and Steven Jacobs (Guyana Amazon Warriors) to name a few, that may have flown under the radar or been overshadowed by the bigger names in the region have now been given their time to shine, and they are indeed taking advantage of that opportunity. I expect that the Limacol CPL will open many doors for these young men to play cricket all over the world and it's satisfying to know that it all started with the LCPL."
Limacol CPL Chief Executive Officer Damien O'Donohoe agrees. "As the governing authority for cricket in the region, the WICB have shown great foresight and support in how they have partnered with us to develop the LCPL. While in our inaugural year of the tournament we recognise we have a long way to go to build and achieve all our mutual goals, we are warmed by the reception that the WICB and all local territorial boards have provided throughout, and the passion with which they have interacted with us concerning our future development programmes, which we think will yield far-reaching results for the sport in the region."
The Limacol Caribbean Premier League T20 Tournament began on July 30 and was scheduled to conclude yesterday in Trinidad and Tobago.