ST KITTS and Nevis Patriots are sometimes overlooked, as the team does not have as many T20 superstars as some of the other franchises. They will be one of the more inexperienced teams in the 2023 Republic Bank Caribbean Premier League.
The team includes many players aiming to become consistent members of their respective international teams, and hopefully that hunger to excel will lead to better performances than they showed last season.
Patriots, the 2021 champions, finished fifth in the 2022 campaign, after picking up only three wins.
No more Bravo
Dwayne Bravo left TKR in 2021, as he wanted a new challenge to lead younger players. It worked out perfectly that same season, as the T20 star led Patriots to their first CPL title.
Bravo was especially key in leading the inexperienced bowlers on the team with his ability to bowl a variety of deliveries, including slower balls.
Bravo, the leading wicket-taker in CPL history, with 124 wickets, has returned to TKR for the 2023 tournament, and somebody may have to step in as the team’s leader.
Lewis, Fletcher look for brisk starts
They may not be many more dangerous opening pairs than Evin Lewis and Andre Fletcher when in form. But Lewis had a disappointing 2022 campaign, scoring just 133 runs at an average of 19.
Patriots will be counting on the left-hander to produce the goods, as not many batsmen in the world can hit sixes like Lewis.
The right-handed Fletcher had a solid season last year, ending with 229 runs at an average of 32.71.
The crowd at Warner Park in St Kitts will be anticipating the Spice Man’s no-look sixes as the pair will be tough to keep at bay. The small Warner Park ground is not large enough for the pair and the crowd will have to be aware of sixes flying in their direction.
Pace like fire
If the wicket at Warner Park is conducive to pace, the trio of Sheldon Cottrell, Dominic Drakes and Oshane Thomas will certainly prove a handful. Left-arm pacer and Jamaican soldier Cottrell, the man who celebrates a wicket by doing a salute, is the fifth leading wicket-taker in CPL history, with 85 wickets in 71 matches. Cottrell has been overlooked by West Indies recently, and will want to remind the selectors of his pedigree.
Drakes, another left-arm pacer, is trying to cement a spot on the West Indies team. Drakes can certainly be an asset for the Patriots with the bat, as he struck the winning runs in the final of the 2021 CPL to help Patriots seal the title.
Thomas, recently recalled by the West Indies, has had a quiet time over the last few years. If he can regain the form he showed in 2018, the team’s bowling attack can be its strength. Playing for the Jamaica Tallawahs in 2018, Thomas grabbed 18 wickets in ten matches to finish second among all bowlers in the tournament.
Rutherford, Rayudu add power to middle order
Sherfane Rutherford, who batted at number five last year, sometimes plays the role of the finisher trying to give Patriots some impetus in the second half of the innings. Rutherford may get the chance to bat higher up the order, as Darren Bravo is not in the team this year, and rising South African star Dewald Brevis will miss matches this season because of international duty.
Former Indian international player Ambati Rayudu, 37, will bring leadership qualities to the team. Rayudu has almost 300 T20 matches under his belt, at an average of 26.43. During his international career from 2013-2019, he played five T20s for India along with 55 One-Day Internationals. He was unlucky not to play more ODIs for India, as he has an average of 47.05.
Joshua Da Silva, Andre Fletcher, Jyd Goolie, Evin Lewis, Ambati Rayudu, Sherfane Rutherford, Tristan Stubbs, Corbin Bosch, Dewald Brevis, Dominic Drakes, Johann Layne, George Linde, Yannic Cariah, Sheldon Cottrell, Ashmead Nedd, Oshane Thomas.