The Caribbean Premier League will be launched this year, in another copy-cat take of the successful Indian Twenty20 franchise - the IPL. 

Scheduled as an annual event, the CPL will replace the Caribbean Twenty20 as the premier competition for the game's shortest format in the region.

Last week the six team's entered a draft, picking a total of 15 players to see them through a tournament that will comprise a minimum of seven group matches for each side. At the end of the group stage, the four best ranking team's will play-off in semi-finals and a final to decide the overall winner. 

Each side is also required to name two "franchise players" - one home grown and one overseas. The tournament gets under way on the 29th July and runs until 26th August. 

Here's a quick look at the team's involved and the star-names who will be making an appearance:

Antigua

Head coach - Sir Viv Richards - one of the most iconic name's in both West Indian and world cricket, the legendary batsmen averaged 50.23 across 121 test matches including a top score of 291. The 61 year-old will ensure he gets the best out of his players.

Local franchise player - Marlon Samuels - On his day an excellent batsmen, he was man of the match in the final of the 2012 ICC World Twenty20, in which West Indies beat Sri Lanka by 36 runs to claim the title. He scored 78 from 56 balls in an innings which included nine boundaries, six of them maximums. 

International franchise player - Ricky Ponting - The ex-Australian captain struggled badly in the 2013 IPL as he was dropped from the Mumbai Indians side and had to watch as his teammates went onto clinch the title. However, he looks to have rediscovered some form with Surrey this summer, and will always have it within him to produce. 

Watch out for - Kemar Roach - Perhaps the best pace bowler the Windies have produced in the last ten years, he has a consistent bowling average of 27.71 in test cricket, 27.13 in ODI's and 28.82 in first class matches. After starting the ICC Champions Trophy in fine form this month, hopes will be high.

Overall thoughts - Lack strength in depth, particularly in the bowling department where Roach will be expected to shoulder much of the wicket-taking responsibilities. Hopes will hinge on an experienced batting line-up that includes South African Justin Kemp and Australian Steve Smith on top of franchise stars Samuels and Ponting.      

Barbados

Head coach - Desmond Haynes - Another legendary veteran of the West Indies' past glories, his 116 test appearances produced 7,487 runs at an average of 42.29. The 57 year-old is currently a director of the West Indies Cricket Board. 

Local franchise player - Kieron Pollard - The giant all-rounder has it within him to win a game on his own. However, he very rarely does, and currently has just two half-century's and 16 wickets in 35 T20 international appearances. Barbados will be hoping he can reproduce some of his Mumbai Indians form in the Caribbean this summer. 

International franchise player - Shoaib Malik - Another all-rounder who produces on an inconsistent basis, the 31 year-old Pakistani can prove a menacing striker of the ball when on form and can also provide some useful right-arm off-break's.

Watch out for - Dwayne Smith - A ferocious attacking batsmen at the top of the order, he can produce fireworks when on form, as he as in the past for the Mumbai Indians during the IPL. 

Overall thoughts - Will be reliant on their big-name's turning up. There's a lot of inconsistency in their team and not a lot of experience, especially in the bowling department - where young Jason Holder will be looked to as the main threat. Shakib Al Hasan could also prove vital in providing some solidity to their batting. 

Guyana

Head coach - Roger Harper - Statistically West Indies greatest ever spin bowler, his bowling average of 28.06 is the best among all West Indian spinners with at least 25 test wickets. It will certainly be interesting to see how he teams up with Sunil Narine. 

Local franchise player - Sunil Narine - Regarded as one of the best spinners in the shortest format of the game, he has an uncanny ability for keeping things tight, forcing mistakes and picking up wickets - as he did for the Kolkata Knight Riders in their successful 2012 IPL campaign.  

International franchise player - Mohammad Hafeez - Something of an underrated player, the 32 year-old Pakistani is always capable of a contribution with bat or ball. His batting average of 24.70 from 43 T20I's is not as good as it might be, but for a part-time spinner his bowling average of 22.14 is impressive.  

Watch out for - Martin Guptill - The New Zealander took apart England in the three-match ODI series earlier this month, and the 26 year-old looks ideally suited to the shorter formats of the game. Already has a T20I century and could be very dangerous.  

Overall thoughts - With Ramnaresh Sarwan, Lendl Simmons and James Franklin also in their squad they have a strong batting line-up. Plenty of spin options, and a recognised wicket keeper in Danesh Ramdin. Perhaps short a genuine strike bowler.      

Jamaica

Head coach - Paul Nixon - The only non-West Indian coach and well-liked veteran of the English county scene, what he lacks in International experience he makes up for in heart and passion for the game.   

Local franchise player - Chris Gayle - The man who will bring in the crowds: having hit a record 30-ball century during his unbeaten knock of 175 in this year's IPL, everyone will be hoping to see the big man reproduce on his home ground. 

International franchise player - Muttiah Muralitharan - One of the greatest bowler's of all time, the 41 year-old still manages to drag himself out for the big-money tournaments and, more importantly, still manages to produce. He doesn't have 800 test wickets for nothing.    

Watch out for - Shaun Marsh - Has often produced in an inexperienced Kings XI line-up during the IPL, another big hitter, the potential for his partnerships with Gayle is frightening.  

Overall thoughts - With Jaques Rudolph, Andre Russell and Ravi Rampaul all in the squad they will head into the tournament as early favourites. They have arguably the most balanced side and will have plenty of options in all departments.

Saint Lucia

Head coach - Andy Roberts - An explosive fast bowler at his prime, he twice took seven wickets in an innings of a Test match. Was part of the famous quartet of pace bowlers in the late 1970's - early 1980's that also included Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Colin Croft.

Local franchise player - Darren Sammy - West Indies current Test captain and T20 World Cup winning skipper, he is one of the most underrated players in world cricket - handy with both bat and ball and a good organiser of his fellow players.  

International franchise player - Herschelle Gibbs - The scorer of 14 test and 21 ODI centuries, he is still a fantastic player. At the age of 39 he is nearing the end of his career, but could still have a couple of big innings within him.   

Watch out for - Tamim Iqbal - An explosive batsmen, he is unlikely to hang around and if he gets going will rival the best strike-rate's in the league. Averages a respectable 37.22 in 28 tests for Bangladesh including a high score of 151.

Overall thoughts - Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Devon Smith will add security to a batting line-up that will also have all-rounders Sammy and Albie Morkel to full back on should Gibbs and Iqbal fail. Unfortunately, Tino Best and Shane Shillingford make up the best of what looks a fairly ordinary bowling line-up.       

Trinidad and Tobago

Head coach - Gordon Greenidge - This tournament is not short on legendary West Indian batsmen, and Greenidge certainly qualifies as one of those with a batting average of 44.72 from 108 test matches and 45.03 from 128 ODI's.

Local franchise player - Dwayne Bravo - West Indies current ODI captain, Bravo is an excellent all-rounder who has often performed well for his IPL franchise - the Chennai Super Kings - taking the 2013 Purple Cap for the most wickets of any bowler in the tournament. 

International franchise player - Ross Taylor - New Zealand's most consistent player in all format's of the game over the last five years, Taylor's test average of 42.21 is commendable for someone who has been playing in a losing side for much of his career. Has struggled to turn his talents to the shortest format of the game in the past. 

Watch out for - Kevin O'Brien - The only British player taking part in the tournament, the Irishman shot to prominence in 2011 when he scored the fastest World Cup century of all time - just 50 deliveries - to help his side from 111/5 to their 328 run target against England.   

Overall thoughts - Aaron Finch, Darren Bravo and Fidel Edwards ensure a well balanced side, but perhaps short an extra touch of quality needed to go all the way.  


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Topics:
#IPL
#West Indies cricket
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