Eyeballs will be glued onto TV screens when the eighth edition of the Caribbean Premier League returns on August 18th. The six-team, 33-match tournament will be held in Trinidad & Tobago and will be the first major T20 league to mark its return amid the global pandemic.
With no international series or fellow T20 leagues hindering the participation of top players, the eighth season of the CPL promises to be one of its best. With so much talent on show, we pick out five that will be must-watch during the tournament:
Shimron Hetmyer (Guyana Amazon Warriors)
Talented 23-year-old Shimron Hetmyer was part of the Guyana Amazon Warriors side that reached the final of the CPL last season, but on a personal note, the hard-hitting batsman had an average campaign. He scored just 224 runs in 12 matches at an average of 20.4 and a strike rate of 123.8.
While he may not have had the season he would’ve hoped for, Hetmyer’s ability is unquestionable and if he can replicate his form from 2018, where he stuck 440 runs, the Warriors could go one better than they did last season.
Hayden Walsh Jr. (Barbados Tridents)
The player of the series in the last edition, Hayden Walsh was one of the primary reasons for the Barbados Tridents’ successful campaign in 2019.
The 28-year-old took 22 wickets at a tremendous average of 12.7 and strike rate of just 9.2. Walsh picked up two four-wicket hauls and one fifer in his nine appearances in 2019, illustrating how destructive he can be with the ball. The Tridents will rely on their leggie to lead them to their third CPL title in 2020.
Chemar Holder (St Lucia Zouks)
He may not have made a telling impact in the CPL yet, but big things are expected from young speedster Chemar Holder in this year’s edition.
The 22-year-old, who rose to fame with his performance at the 2016 U-19 Cricket World Cup, has been terrorizing batsmen in the domestic circuit, picking up 76 wickets in 19 first-class matches. Playing for St Lucia Zouks will surely bring a whole lot of pressure on the youngster, but if his form is anything to go by, a special season could be in the offering from the young pacer.
Romario Shepherd (Guyana Amazon Warriors)
Bowling all-rounder Romario Shepherd is an impact player with both, bat and ball.
The 25-year-old picked 13 wickets in 10 matches last season and batted at a tremendous strike rate 205. Shepherd’s stock has continued to rise over the past two years and having already played a big role in helping Guyana Amazon Warriors reach the final last season, Shepherd will be keen on aiding his side to win the title this year.
Sandeep Lamichhane (Jamaica Tallawahs)
20-year-old Nepalese leg-spinner, Sandeep Lamichhane has been tremendous in his nascent career so far.
Coming from a country not known for its cricket prowess, Lamichhane has defied odds and has been a world-class talent at this tender age. He has played 11 matches in the CPL and has picked up 15 wickets so far. But what stands out is his ability to put the brakes on the opposition. Lamichhane's economy in the CPL is under 6.5 and it will be interesting to see if he can yet again deliver the goods for the Jamaica Tallawahs this season.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @GYAmazonWarrior