CAN a new name bring a change in fortune for the Barbados franchise in the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 tournament?
The franchise will be known as the Barbados Royals this year instead of the Barbados Tridents as the Royals Sports Group now has a majority stake in the team.
The Royals Sports Group also owns the Rajasthan Royals of the Indian Premier League.
The Royals finished fifth on the six-team standings in the 2020 CPL after finishing the preliminary phase with three wins and seven losses.
The franchise is no stranger to success having won titles in 2014 and 2019. West Indies T20 and 50-Over captain Kieron Pollard was the captain in 2014 and former West Indies Test captain Jason Holder was at the helm in 2019.
The squad should be confident heading into the campaign as several players from the 2019 championship-winning team are still with the squad including Holder, leg spinner Hayden Walsh Jnr and batsman Johnson Charles.
PHILLIPS, AMIR SIGN;
The Royals made one of the biggest signings in the off season as batsman Glenn Phillips has joined the franchise.
Phillips has been one of the most consistent and destructive batsmen in the CPL over the last few years.
The opener from New Zealand, who was the second leading run scorer (316 runs) in 2020, was the backbone of the Jamaica Tallawahs batting since joining the team in 2017.
Phillips is one of only two foreign players to score a century in the eight-year history of the CPL. In the 2018 tournament, Phillips cracked 103 in 63 balls against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots. The innings included nine fours and six sixes.
His countryman Colin Munro of Trinbago Knight Riders is the other overseas player to score a hundred.
Phillips gives the Royals another wicket-keeping option also. The other members of the squad who are capable with the gloves are Charles, Shai Hope, Pakistani Azam Khan and Indian cricketer Smit Patel.
Left-arm fast bowler Mohammad Amir is another notable addition to the Royals. Amir has played 50 T20 international for Pakistan since making his debut in 2009. He has grabbed 59 wickets at an economy rate of 7.02.
West Indies fast bowler Oshane Thomas has joined the Royals from the Tallawahs and will be eager to regain the form he has shown in past tournaments after being a bystander in 2020.
Leg spinner Rashid Khan, one of the best spinners in the world, will not line up for the Royals this year because of international duty with Afghanistan. Khan became the first ever bowler to grab a hat-trick in the CPL when he was a member of the Guyana Amazon Warriors in 2017. Andre Russell of the Tallawahs is the other player to snatch a hat-trick (2018).
Left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner will not feature in the 2021 CPL. Santner has loads of experience as an international cricketer with New Zealand.
WALSH, CHARLES AIM
FOR 2019 FORM
In the 2019 championship winning season Walsh and right-handed batsman Charles were among the best players in the tournament.
Walsh had a breakthrough year in 2019 ending the tournament as the top wicket-taker with 22 wickets. However, he was a bit expensive ending with an economy rate of 8.28.
The Royals will be hoping Walsh can continue the form he has shown of late for West Indies.
Charles, an aggressive opener, was the third leading run scorer in the tournament.
In 13 innings, Charles scored 415 runs at an average of 31.92 which included three half centuries. He ended with a strike rate of 122.41.
Both Walsh and Charles had mediocre performances in 2020. Walsh took seven wickets at an economy rate of 7.65 and Charles scored 214 runs at an average of 21.40 with only one half century.
Jason Holder (captain), Glenn Phillips, Thisara Perara, Mohammad Amir, Johnson Charles, Shai Hope, Oshane Thomas, Kyle Mayers, Hayden Walsh Jnr, Azam Khan, Raymon Reifer, Justin Greaves, Ashley Nurse, Jake Lintott, Nyeem Young, Joshua Bishop, Smit Patel