ST KITTS/Nevis Patriots captain Rayad Emrit is anticipating the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 tournament after it was announced that the entire tournament will be held at Warner Park in St Kitts. Emrit also believes that Patriots can be a force to be reckoned with in 2021 after years of disappointment.
On Tuesday, it was revealed on Zoom that the tournament will be held in St Kitts from August 28. Among those who attended the virtual media conference were St Kitts/Nevis Minister of Sport, Education, Youth and Culture Jonel Powell and CPL CEO Pete Russell.
Fans will return to the CPL this year as, from next month, the St Kitts/Nevis Government will allow 50 per cent capacity at sporting events. St Kitts/Nevis has recorded less than 50 cases of covid19 with no deaths.
Speaking to Newsday on Thursday, Emrit said, “It is good news for Patriots and their fans to have the entire tournament staged in St Kitts and Nevis. I know the fans there are starved for cricket, likewise the entire Caribbean, but at least the 50 per cent capacity of fans is something different now and the whole team will definitely be looking forward to play in front of their fans. I think it is going to be good for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots and hopefully we could have the same run like TKR (Trinbago Knight Riders) had last season.”
This is the second consecutive year the CPL will be played in one country. In 2020, the tournament was played in Trinidad with matches at the Queen’s Park Oval, St Clair and the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Tarouba. TKR ended the season unbeaten to win their fourth title.
Patriots have never won a CPL title, but Emrit thinks in 2021 the franchise cannot be taken lightly.
Last year’s tournament was one to forget for the Patriots as the franchise finished at the foot of the six-team standings.
Patriots ended with just one win from their ten matches. The Patriots best finish since tjey became a franchise in 2015 was a second-place finish in 2017.
Asked if 2021 could be the year of the Patriots, Emrit said, “I know for a fact that the management staff is trying to comprise a very good team this year. There are going to be some surprises.”
He said Patriots will turn some heads in this year’s tournament. “Most of our players who were signed at the beginning of the (2020) tournament did not turn up for whatever reason and the replacements that were there we just did not do the job, so hopefully we could put things right this year. I know a lot of work is going on in the background and we are going to be a team to be reckoned with this year.”
West Indies all-rounder Fabian Allen was one key player who missed the 2020 tournament. Allen never made it to Trinidad after missing a flight.
Warner Park is one of the smaller grounds in the region. Emrit expects high scoring matches especially in the early stages of the tournament, but said the wicket may change as the tournament progresses. A total of 33 matches will be played at the venue.