Barbados, Feb.12 (ANI): Retiring New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum has expressed his happiness after being picked for Trinbago Knight Riders team of the 2016 edition of Caribbean Premier League (CPL), saying that he is super excited to make his first appearance in the tournament.
“It’s really special to be playing in the Caribbean; the fan engagement and carnival atmosphere is something I’ve heard a lot from a lot of players around the world. I guess there’s the cultural aspects of the Caribbean (as well), and just getting to meet some of the great people over there, and obviously playing on some of those wonderful golf courses in the likes of Barbados as well,” the 34-year-old said.
He further added that he would also get the opportunity to meet his favourite West Indies player and cricket great Sir Viv Richards.
South Africa duo AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis also expressed their views on the tournament.
Du Plessis, who will represent St Kitts & Nevis Patriots, insisted that the tournament had been growing with each passing year and also getting big international players.
“I’m looking forward to be part of a tournament that’s like no other around the world. The West Indian culture is all about having fun and I can’t wait to be a part of it. It’s great to see that the tournament is growing and getting big international players playing in it. We will be going there in July just before the CPL starts for a triangular series involving the West Indies and Australia, so I’m looking forward to that and getting some experience of the conditions,” Plessis said.
Plessis, who reveals that Brian Lara is his favourite player, called on the Patriots to perform at their absolute best in the CPL.
New Zealand opener Martin Guptill, who will represent Guyana Amazon Warriors, said he was really looking forward to play his fourth season in a row.
“I’m really excited. I’ve been here three years in a row and it’s going to be my fourth year this year. So I’m really looking forward to getting over there. Even from the very first CPL it was an extremely exciting atmosphere and to be out there in the middle and witness the crowd having a great big party is pretty special to watch and it’s something I’ve really enjoyed being involved with,” Guptill affirmed.
Echoing similar views, Australian batsman Shane Watson said that he always wanted to be a part of the CPL and that he really enjoys playing with world-class players in the tournament.
“It’s a tournament that I’ve always wanted to be a part of. It looks very cool, awesome atmospheres and there are world-class players playing in the tournament as well, so I really can’t wait to be a part of it. It’s very special to be able to play in the Caribbean. My hopes for the tournament would be to really enjoy myself over there. It’s an awesome place to play cricket, especially T20 cricket. Everyone loves it and gets into it. So, I can’t wait to just be a part of it and hopefully provide a lot of entertainment for the cricket-loving public there,” Watson said after he was picked by Zouks for the upcoming edition of the CPL.
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara also hailed the quality of the CPL, saying that it was growing with each passing year and he felt glad to be a part of it.
“I am extremely excited to be part of the Jamaica Tallawahs again this year, having enjoyed being part of the squad who went on to win the inaugural trophy back in 2013. The CPL is a competition that is growing year on year and the quality is extremely high. Over my 15 years playing international cricket I only toured the West Indies twice, aside from playing in ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 and the ICC World T20 in 2010, but every time I played here it was a special experience,” he said.
Sangakkara revealed Richards as his idol, saying that he loved the way the latter used to dominate the opponents.
“We have some outstanding players such as Chris Gayle, Andre Russell and Chadwick Walton and we will aim to build a cohesive side and add strength, which I believe we have done now. It’s clear that there has been a real growth in popularity and appeal in the CPL and with the quality of cricketers who have been attracted across all of the teams, this could be the best year yet,”Sangakkara added.
The draft for the 2016 edition of the CPL was held in Barbados on Thursday, which featured six franchises. (ANI)