Former Trinidad and Tobago and West Indies fast bowler Tony Gray was impressed with the overall running of the 2017 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), which ended on Saturday – with the Trinbago Knight Riders defeating St Kitts/Nevis Patriots by three wickets in the final, at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Tarouba.
Gray, in a telephone interview yesterday, hailed the performances of Guyana Amazon Warriors wicketkeeper/batsman Chadwick Walton (who was named as the Most Valuable Player), Amazon Warriors’ left-arm pacer Sohail Tanvir, and the Knight Riders’ pair of leg-spinner Shadab Khan and off-spinner Sunil Narine.
“I think that Chadwick Walton was remarkable,” said Gray. “To leave a franchise like the Jamaica Tallawahs to go to a new franchise, and perform the way he did, he got the most runs in the tournament, 458 runs, is remarkable. He has improved immensely on all cricket skills and his approach to batting especially. He didn’t have the wicketkeeping duties (for some parts) of the tournament and that probably helped his concentration.”
Gray continued, “When you look at somebody like Shadab Khan – very good control for a spinner, consistency, a wicket-taker, and he’s also been very frugal during the tournament. Sunil Narine, obviously, performed very well. Tanvir, with those remarkable stats of five wickets for three runs, against the Barbados Tridents. So I think overall the level of cricket was good in T20 sense.
“You’ve seen some brilliant catching, that catch by (Fabian) Allen, in the early parts of the tournament, was absolutely brilliant.
The ex-national youth team coach noted, “I’m pleased with the tournament, it didn’t have plenty hiccups. The weather was good, in Trinidad we completed all the matches, nine of them. I thought it was a well-organised tournament. It was fluent in its nature and I’m very happy with it.”
Gray was also impressed with the overall display of the Trinbago Knight Riders, during their successful campaign at the 2017 CPL.
“I thought it was a brilliant victory. I thought Dwayne Bravo, (who) he came back from a serious hamstring injury that he sustained in the Big Bash tournament in Australia, really marshalled his troops very well.
“Simon Katich must be complimented too, because of the fact that he was new to the team and, as coach, he won his first CPL tournament. The players played quite well.
“I think, overall, when you look at the teams, (the Knight Riders) had the best balanced team in the competition,” Gray said. “After losing (opening batsman Brendon) McCullum, which was a big blow, they rallied quite well. Somebody like Shadab Khan, who is perhaps one of the best emerging players in the world, I thought they handled themselves very well. (Kevon) Cooper, in the final game, was absolutely brilliant.”
This was the first time that the Tarouba venue was used for matches at this magnitude, but there were some teething problems, including access roads to and from the venue, and general parking. But Gray was pleased with the venue, from a cricketing point of view.
“It’s great that we have something that represents the type of performance that we saw from an iconic figure in Brian Lara, one of the favourite sons of the soil,” Gray said. “It’s great to have a spanking new facility, a wonderful facility. To have 16,000 maximum crowd (for) the final was a great atmosphere. The pitches were good T20 pitches in a general sense.”