Tridents sign controversial Hales, Bravo remains at TKR

Friday, May 24, 2019

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LONDON, England (CMC) — Barbados Tridents signed troubled England batsman Alex Hales as their first- round pick, while two-time reigning champions, Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR), put to rest rampant speculation over Dwayne Bravo's departure by retaining the veteran all-rounder in the Caribbean Premier League draft staged here Wednesday.

There were no real major surprises at the event hosted at the Gfinity eSports Arena, however, as the six franchises, for the most part, predictably staffed their 17 - man squads for the September 4 to October 12 showpiece in the Caribbean.

Tridents, looking to rebuild after finishing bottom of the standings last season, also nabbed 18-year-old Nepal leg-spinning sensation, Sandeep Lamichhane, in the fifth round, and further supplemented their slow bowling attack by picking up Pakistan left-armer Imad Wasim in the ninth round.

They also secured the services of Pakistan batsman Asif Ali and out-of-favour West Indies opener Johnson Charles who had previously played for St Lucia Stars, while recalling the previously overlooked left-hander Jonathan Carter and retaining the likes of highly-rated strokemaker Shai Hope, off-spinner Ashley Nurse and Wahab Riaz.

The 30-year-old Hales, meanwhile, will take his explosive batting at the top of the order to the Bridgetown-based franchise, and will bring additional firepower to their rankings.

Only recently, however, Hales found himself embroiled in controversy when he was suspended and axed from England's World Cup squad for failing a second drugs test, the latest in what men's team director, Ashley Giles said had been “a string of poor behaviour over time”.

In 2017, Hales was suspended and fined for an incident outside a Bristol nightclub following a One-Day International against the West Indies.

In a surprise development, there was no place on the Tridents roster or any of the other franchises for the services of veteran T20 star, Dwayne Smith.

The 36-year-old has hit four CPL hundreds — the most by any batsman in the league — but had a poor 2018 season where he managed just 185 runs and a single half-century.

There was relief for TKR fans when Bravo was selected as a first-round choice, squashing speculation he would not be turning out for his native franchise in the upcoming season.

In a comment on Twitter on Tuesday, Bravo said: “No TKR for me this season guys. Sorry. But I have de nuff of the cussing. I need to enjoy my time now. Good luck TKR fans!!!”

The 35-year-old, however, the league's leading wicket-taker with 97 scalps, will join marquee player Kieron Pollard, along with the usual suspects Sunil Narine, Darren Bravo, Denesh Ramdin and Khary Pierre, in retaining the distinctive Trinidadian flavour of the franchise.

New Zealand's Colin Munro, who topped the run-scoring charts last season with 567 runs, was also retained.

St Lucia Stars, yet to make a significant impression in the CPL, boosted their chances of a strong showing this season by picking up Sri Lankan fast bowler Lasith Malinga in the first round.

The franchise also secured last season's leading wicket-taker, leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed, in the second round, and opted for the batting talents of one of the West Indies' latest recruits, left-handed opener John Campbell.

There was added Sri Lankan flair to the franchise as Stars signed the pair of Thisara Perera and Niroshan Dickwella.

Guyana Amazon Warriors, meanwhile, strengthened their bowling attack with the inclusion of first-round pick, Pakistan leg-spinner Shadab Khan, and also secured Australian fast bowler Ben Laughlin in the fifth round.

As expected, West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell was retained by Jamaica Tallawahs, joining veteran opener Chris Gayle who has returned to the franchise following a couple seasons with St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.

Forced to do without Gayle, Patriots signed Sri Lankan fast-bowling all-rounder Isuru Udana in a first-round move, while also pulling Rayad Emrit from Amazon Warriors.

Astonishingly, England's Barbadian fast bowling sensation, Jofra Archer, went unsold in the auction.

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