The eighth season of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) is expected to commence from next month, and cricket fans are already awaiting the cut-throat action that the competition promises. The tournament has become a destination for upcoming talent to hone and display their skills against the best players on a global stage. Over the years, we have seen a number of youngsters like Sherfane Rutherford, Shimron Hetmyer and Rovman Powell who have gone on to represent their country after a fine showing in the CPL.
Cricketers will be raring to go in the upcoming edition that runs from August 18 to September 10 as well, and we list three players who could be the dark horses for their respective franchises.
Fabian Allen (St Kitts & Nevis Patriots)
Fabian Allen is yet another dangerous batsman from West Indies who can hit the big shots at will from the word go. With a T20 strike rate of over 181 and an average of 37.44 from just 18 games, the all-rounder has shown that he has serious talent. In wins, Allen’s strike rate rises to 186.51 while his average peaks to 58.75 – which is evidence of just how integral he is to his team’s chances.
Though Allen has only picked up 5 wickets in domestic T20 matches, he can never be counted out with the ball in hand. In 13 T20 Internationals for West Indies, the 25-year old has picked up 11 wickets at an average of just 21.63 and an economy rate of 6.80, and the Patriots would be eager to use him as a wicket-taker in the middle overs. A gun fielder as well, Allen has the perfect all-round game, which makes him the biggest dark horse of CPL 2020.
Khary Pierre (Trinbago Knight Riders)
The left-arm spinner has often been entrusted by his franchise, the Trinbago Knight Riders, to bowl in the powerplay overs in the last few years, and little has he disappointed. Extracting turn with the new ball in the shortest format of the game is not the easiest task, but with an economy rate of just under seven, Pierre has managed to go about his task with accuracy and consistency.
The West Indian came into the spotlight after a fine 2018 season where he scalped 11 wickets in seven games at an economy rate of 5.65. It helped him make his international T20 debut against the Indians at Eden Gardens later that year. Although he returned with just a wicket in his maiden international game, he conceded 16 in his quota of 4 overs with his googlies troubling the host team.
However, Pierre has not been consistent at the international stage and will be eager to leave his mark this time around on the slow and dry tracks at Trinidad and Tobago that will suit his bowling style.
Romario Shepherd (Guyana Amazon Warriors)
The fast bowler has played a huge role in Guyana Amazon Warriors’ run to the final in the last season of the CPL, picking up 13 wickets in 9 innings to end as the fourth highest wicket-taker. On flat tracks where scores of 170 were easily scored, the 25-year old kept things tight and ended the season with a bowling strike rate of 13.6.
What makes Shepherd stand out is that he usually comes on to bowl the death overs when the opponents are looking to hit every delivery out of the park. Equipped with a good change of pace, Shepherd consistently targets the blockhole, which makes run-scoring difficult.
He can also hit the ball a long way with the willow in hand, which further makes him a real threat. Last season, the cricketer smashed 41 runs in three innings at a strike rate of 205, and he would be eager to replicate his form with both bat and ball in the upcoming tournament.