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Antigua Hawksbills become dormant due to lack of support

The Antigua Hawksbills franchise will not be participating in the 2015 Caribbean Premier League (CPL). Photo: Provided
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – According to information released yesterday, Monday February 2, 2015, seven teams are just too much for the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) at this time and the Antigua Hawksbills will be no more.

In a statement, Pete Russell, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the CPL, said that is the reason the Antigua Hawksbills will not be a part of the third edition of the Digicel-run Twenty20 tournament this year. ”Based on the conversations we were having locally, we found we weren’t getting anywhere,” he said, officially confirming that the Antigua Hawksbills franchise will not be participating in the 2015 CPL.

Ahead of this Thursday’s League draft, Russell, explained yesterday that there was more interest by other governments around the region than that of the Antiguan government for hosting a League franchise.

“I think it’s fair to say that the other governments found that we were giving value for money,” said the COO, “they saw what the CPL could deliver internationally.”

Last year, the government had found itself undecided as it pertained to making a significant financial investment into the CPL through the Hawksbills franchise. Last year’s experience at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground left much to be desired in the eyes of many local cricket enthusiasts. Russell admitted that the low attendance compared to the inaugural year was due to the CPL choosing to go with a midday start time as opposed to the highly successful evening start time in the previous year that garnered record attendance numbers at over 27,000 persons.

Despite this setback, however, the government of Antigua and Barbuda still has an outstanding debt to the CPL to the tune of $200,000. The officials have been moving toward a model that sees all of the franchises being owned by independent bodies making “at least a 10-year commitment,” said Russell. Though he would not specify cost to purchase a CPL team, the COO did say that the operating costs are “in the seven-figure” range.

Three of the six CPL franchises have secured owners, with the latest being wealthy billionaire Uday Nayak, Chairman of Veling Ltd which owns subsidiary Leeward Flight Services (LFS) in St Kitts. Last year the United States based Chalak Mitra Group (CMG) inked the deal securing the rights to own the Jamaica Tallawahs, chief principal being Manish Patel, chairman and president of CMG. Since the inception of the League, the Guyana Amazons were acquired by Dr Ranjisingh ’Bobby’ Ramroop through New GPC Inc, specifically its Limacol brand.

Russell indicated that Trinidad and Barbados “are close doing a deal” to secure owners for their respective franchises.

CPL franchises can retain a maximum of four players ahead of Thursday’s draft, and the new St Kitts franchise has chosen to retain Carlos Brathwaite, Devon Thomas, Orlando Peters and Justin Athanaze but not captain Marlon Samuels, who will now go into Thursday’s draft. Samuels was one of the leading batsmen in the CPL for 2014, despite his side winning just one of their nine matches.

As for the coaching staff of the now-dormant Hawksbills franchise headed by Sir Vivian Richards, Russell says that, “Sir Viv is unique… not just to Antigua cricket but in terms of global cricket. He will very much be a part of the CPL in terms of our on-going development plan. He is obviously a huge ambassador not only for Antigua and the Caribbean, but for CPL around the world."

3 Responses to “Antigua Hawksbills become dormant due to lack of support”

  • farmer brown (03/02/2015, 08:48) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    Where is the local sports vino
  • Plank (03/02/2015, 11:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Good thing St. Kitts, Eddie for manager, Harris for coach, give your own some deserving exposure that the W. Indies board and selectors deny them. Get at lease 2 players from Nevis, get that Nevis support

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