Opening ceremony of the 2013 Cricket Caribbean Premier League. (Photo by Mike Toy/Getty Images Latin America for CPL)

2014 LIMACOL Caribbean Premier League

By Ravendra Madholall in Toronto
Cricket enthusiasts and players have expressed profound disappointment after learning that the 2014 LIMACOL Caribbean Premier League (CPL)T20 opening ceremony and first-round matches will no longer be in Toronto.

The first segment was expected to get cracking on July 5 at the two selected venues, Maple Leaf King City and Toronto Cricket Club but according to a representative from the CPL, Patrick Narine, the action will now be heading to Grenada, a Caribbean island.

He further stated that predominantly Cricket Canada failed to fulfill its obligation to have the games here but time has now expired and nothing has been done significantly, which eventually forced the CPL organizers to switch gear.

“I don’t want to emphasize the issues here but from our end in the Caribbean, I don’t think Canada is ready to host this important part of this year’s edition; I know fans would be very disappointed to not seeing these quality T20 cricketers on show but facilities to have these matches are of utmost importance,” Narine related via telephone.

In the inaugurating year (2013), the tournament turned out to be phenomenal as a massive number of T20 stars from around the globe represented six Caribbean territories. Jamaica Tallawahs emerged as the champion team defeating Amazon Warriors Guyana.

The other four participating countries were:- St. Lucia Zouks, Barbados Trident, Antigua Hawkbills and Trinidad and Tobago Red Steels.

Narine also mentioned the negotiations to bring the games and opening function began since last year but surprisingly, the discussions continued in vain to date. Cricket Canada had to make a final decision by mid-April.

Only recently, Cricket Canada’s president Ravin Moorty resigned and he was the one that responsible for the negotiations and spoke with executives from the West Indies Cricket Board on a consistent basis. Efforts to contact a member from Cricket Canada on what is currently happening proved futile.

Narine took the opportunity to say that the possibility still exists that the two winners for this year could still play an exhibition match in Toronto just after the completion of the tournament early August, perhaps at the Roger Centre in downtown.

Meanwhile, cricketers Jeremy Gordon, Ravin Babulall and Ricky Sukhandan; fans Everal Tinglin, Andrea Dawkins, Stephen Henry, and Mary Alice Pearson were also in a mood of disappointment when this writer caught up with them.

“I [am] very disappointed but I heard we don’t have proper facilities to host such an event in the city,” Canada’s fast-bowler Gordon declared. The former Guyana cricketer is however hoping for the best in the future.

Both Guyanese Babulall and Sukhandan shared similar feelings that Canada Cricket should have capitalized on the opportunity to host the matches and the opening ceremony. They added it would have certainly highlighted the country’s willingness and passion for the game and that is why they could have taken a more aggressive approach to it.
Jamaicans Tingling and Henry said they are ‘big’ fans of their countryman Chris Gayle and were very excited to see him in action but having known now that the games not playing just disappointing for them too.

Dawkin of Trinidad and Tobago was exceedingly happy to say she will be in the twin island republic during the July-August season and looking forward to attend two games whenever taking place at the Queen’s Park Oval. Notwithstanding that, the avid cricket fan was also anxious to view the action here while she mentioned that the administrators must work with some amount of diligence to have this kind sporting activity. Pearson of Montserrat, another small Caribbean island , was becoming very emotional stating that she already started to find out where tickets were selling but now heard the CPLT20 not coming is a great disappointment for her as well.

Many others who preferred anonymity felt the there was a sense of great responsibility by Cricket Canada to see a tournament of this magnitude plays here to give their faithful supporters something valuable to cheer about.

Roy Singh, a prominent entrepreneur in Ontario, is also working on various organizations, and in collaboration with Cricket Canada to have a Canada Premier League T20 involving the same set of players later this year, but that also seems unrealistic now for 2013.