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8 players to watch out for in the CPL 2016

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In the entire trajectory of world cricket, there are few things that match up to the excitement of playing in the Caribbean. With its party going people, music aficionados and serene beaches, experiencing free-spirited cricket here can cure any of life's woes.

It is that time of the year when the party returns to Caribbean in a format that has enriched the game in Windies and decorated its people handsomely. They are unarguably the best when it comes to the shortest form of Cricket. The Caribbean Premier League is back in its fourth edition and the stage is set for some fireworks.

We present you 8 players from the Caribbean Premier League who are expected to set the big stage on fire with thunderous deliveries, big strokes and clean hitting.

Shamar Springer – Barbados Tridents

Both a handy middle order batsman and a nagging seam bowler, the 18 year old Barbadian is clearly a big match player, having displayed his tenacity in the West Indies' Under 19 triumph in the U-19 World Cup.

As a batsman, he can be a fierce competitor, displayed in his 74 ball century against Fiji, the all important knock that announced Shamar Springer to the world stage. As a bowler, he can be a bit of a 'bat- beater', with his right arm fast medium making batsmen eat up a lot of deliveries, whilst lowering the scoring rate.

This is a skill that will come in handy for the Tridents, who seem jubilant at having picked up a player who's also quite entertaining with his trademark 'chest roll' celebration, a curious spectacle that made waves alongside his heroics earlier this year.

Steven Taylor – Barbados Tridents

22 year old Taylor is an impressive import from the United States, a destination that has only just begun warming up to cricket. Steven shows great promise, despite playing anything but cricket while growing up. The young South Florida native chose cricket as a natural expression of his sporting talent, having already excelled in basketball, football, baseball and athletics.

A handy opening batsman, Steven Taylor possesses the right balance between technique and stroke-making to collect runs handsomely, the former not always the main strength of frontline Windies batsmen. The youngster will look to emulate his hero, Chris Gayle, and face up to a heady cocktail of spin and pace as he counters his first major tournament in the West Indies.

Shimron Hetmeyer – Guyana Amazon Warriors

And just when the pressure seems too much to bear, there emerges the captain, whose heroics destroy their foes. That is the calm and composed Shimron Hetmeyer, the triumphant leader of the Under-19 World Cup winning Windies side. Hetmeyer first sprung to international attention following his brilliant 136 against Scotland and kept getting better as the tournament progressed.

He showed class and scored gritty half centuries against Pakistan and Bangladesh. Even when the world cup ended, he continued his rich vein of form, striking an important century against Jamaica in a domestic encounter.

A promising batsman and a focused competitor, Hetmeyer’s mix of flair and grit is a joy to watch. The Guyana born lad will be eager to replicate his world cup heroics for his Guyana Amazon Warriors, a side which will depend on the youngster to provide them with flying starts.

Jon-Russ Jaggesar – Jamaica Tallawahs

In an age where spinners are rare and, regardless of where they play, struggling to compete with fast bowlers for wickets, Jon Russ Jaggesar's rise as a handy exponent of off-spin in the West Indies is heartening.

Jaggesar was the top-wicket taker in the domestic series in the West Indies 2015-16 where his stats of 14 wickets from 6 fifty over games at an average of 13.5 helped Trinidad and Tobago move to the very top.

He has steady composure and a daring not dissimilar to that of Sunil Narine and Devendra Bishoo, who have proven to be serious threats in international cricket. This thinking bowler will be looking to play a key role for the Tallawahs.

Alex Ross – Jamaica Tallawahs

The 24 year old Victorian and 2016 Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year is a handy new pick for the Tallawahs, who seem to have knitted a unit full of batsmen who look sure to surprise in this year's CPL.

With tremendous experience in Australia, Alex Ross has emerged as a dependable batsman who can accumulate runs quickly, a skill that will help him in T20s. Moreover, he is fresh from a successful recent round up of the Sheffield Shield, where his exuberant knocks of 72, 71, 52 and 47 signaled his intent of staying at the crease and making inroads toward competitive scores. He will be looking to contribute to Jamaica with his glowing strike rate that measures over 140 in T20s.

Alzarri Joseph – St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots

A natural athlete, a comet of restless energy and a genuine fast bowler, the 19 year old Antiguan first made headlines in this year's Under-19 World Cup when he bowled the fastest ball of the tournament against Zimbabwe. At 143 km/hr, he broke through the defense and the stumps of Zimbabwean Brandon Sly. The likes of Andy Roberts have already pegged Joseph for tremendous success and Ian Bishop and Curtly Ambrose, another great Antiguan, have placed their hopes in this tall and lanky right arm pacer.

For a country that was once renowned for its arsenal of fast bowling, and one that eventually spiraled downwards since, the rise of the hitherto unknown Joseph has signaled a change in the course of the wind.

The 6'4 tall quick has suddenly emerged to unsettle batsmen and ease the anxieties of the WICB, who have for a long time been scouting for the next generation of fast bowlers in the Caribbean, in a hope to rekindle the era of Holding, Marshall, Garner and Roberts. Showing glimpses of his pace in the Under 19 World Cup, Joseph may be the next best thing in the Windies. But he has got to prove himself in the hard hitting T20 format first. What better place than CPL to prove his mettle?

Gidron Pope – St. Lucia Zouks

An explosive opening batsman from St. Vincent in the mould of Chris Gayle, 19 year old Pope will have to come up with some exquisite performances in this year’s CPL, after he showed what he’s capable of in the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh.

Most impressed with left handed Pope's dazzling batting has been his Under-19 captain, Hetmeyer who revealed that when the duo first faced in a domestic game, Gidron cleaned up a number of the opposing bowlers with his strong hitting at the top order.

He was to further impress all with his run-a-ball 60 against England and his quickfire 76 against Fiji. But at 19, Pope is still new to the rigours of international cricket and will have to exhibit consistency in order to make most of his natural abilities. Let us hope CPL can establish his credentials.

Anton Devcich – Trinbago Knight Riders

At 30, this left handed Kiwi opener has already made his mark in T20 and 50 over cricket. But T20s in the West Indies can be a different contest altogether. His gritty character and experience will prove to be up to it.

For a batsman who hardly got a chance to exhibit the full range of his talent, being accommodated at number 9 and 10 for his First class side, Devcich worked extremely hard to get promoted to the top order. His breathtaking 94, compiled while batting at number 9 for a game against Otago, took Northern Districts to the top.

An important plus however, for Anton Devcich is that over the last couple of years, he has regularly featured in as an opener in shorter formats, where his brisk strike rate of 140 has fetched him favourable results. He would be expected to do the same for Trinbago Knight Riders.

 

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