CPL confirms Jamaica Tallawahs to be replaced by Antigua-based franchise

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

Jamaica Tallawahs, the 2022 Caribbean Premier League champions, will not feature in the tournament’s 2024 season and will be replaced by a new franchise based in Antigua and Barbuda.

Amidst the celebratory echoes of the Tallawahs’ triumph, an unexpected announcement rippled through the cricketing community. The Tallawahs, with their storied legacy, would not grace the fields of the 2024 CPL season.

In a surprising turn of events, the franchise had been sold back to the CPL by its owner, Kris Persaud, a Guyanese businessman based in Florida. The decision was attributed to the owners’ inability to operate the team, leaving them with no choice but to part ways with the reigning champions.

“The owners were left with no option but to sell the Tallawahs back to CPL as they could not find a way to operate the team sustainably,” quoted by ESPNcricinfo.

Jamaican hearts sank at the news, as the Tallawahs would be replaced by a new franchise hailing from the picturesque twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda. The identity of this budding team remained shrouded in mystery, with no name yet bestowed upon them. The move marked a return of top-tier cricket to Antigua, which had previously hosted the Antigua Hawksbills in the early seasons of the CPL.

Daryll Matthew, the Minister of Sports in the Antigua and Barbuda Senate, unveiled ambitious plans for the franchise’s debut in 2024.

“We can expect very easily and conservatively to generate approximately US$6 million per year by simply having a CPL franchise based in Antigua and Barbuda,” Matthew declared, outlining the potential economic benefits and excitement the team would bring to the island.

Meanwhile, back in Jamaica, disappointment echoed through the cricketing corridors. Rovman Powell, West Indies T20 captain and leader of the Tallawahs’ victorious campaign in 2022, expressed his dismay. “Jamaica is the biggest island in the Caribbean, a proud nation, a proud cricketing nation,” Powell lamented. “For those things to be happening is a little bit disappointing.”

The absence of the Tallawahs also posed a significant challenge for cricket enthusiasts in Jamaica, particularly with the iconic Sabina Park left without CPL action. Powell, yearning to play in front of his home crowd, urged the West Indies Cricket Board and the Jamaican government to engage in a conversation about the future of cricket on the island.

Despite the sombre mood in Jamaica, the CPL remained steadfast in its commitment to the region. A spokesperson reassured fans that a Jamaica-based franchise would make its return, but not before 2025. In the interim, the 2024 CPL season would feature six teams, including the new entrant from Antigua & Barbuda, along with franchises from Barbados, Guyana, St Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad & Tobago.

“The CPL remains committed to having a team based in Jamaica, but this will be in 2025 at the earliest. In 2024, there will be six teams taking part in the CPL with franchises based in Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, St Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago.”

As the cricketing world eagerly awaited the 2024 CPL season, the winds of change continued to shape the future of Caribbean cricket, promising both challenges and opportunities for passionate fans and players alike.

Source: IANS

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