CPL looks to expand women’s franchises
PETE RUSSELL, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), believes the success of the inaugural women's season has laid a strong foundation to build on going forward.
"I was really delighted. I think all the girls came into it with the right attitude and spirit and you saw how much it meant in the final. For us it was a huge success and we were delighted that we were able to get players from South Africa, Pakistan and also the USA. For us it was a great start and we have plenty to build on going forward," said Russell.
Led by Former West Indies all-rounder Deandra Dottin, who was voted Player of the Tournament, Trinbago Knight Riders defeated Barbados Royals by 10 runs in the final.
According to Russell, the organisers will have discussions about adding more teams to the tournament.
Only Guyana Amazon Warriors, Trinbago Knight Riders and Barbados Royals participated this season, with the three teams representing only half of the franchises that play in the men's tournament.
"We'll have a look at it. The idea this year was to have three very good teams and I think we had. I think if more girls take up the game, then obviously we'll expand. It's definitely something we're looking at, but for us it worked perfectly this year," he added.
Russell, who has been a part of the CPL management since inception and was promoted to CEO last year, revealed that the women's game should have been part of the CPL package before, but was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It's an essential part of what we're trying to add in the region - it's cricket for everyone. We wanted to do it in 2020 and 2021 but the pandemic got in the way. It's something we feel we have a big opportunity to build on and flourish.
"Hopefully, it inspires more girls to play the game and in future years, we have the six franchises being represented," he disclosed.
Russell is hopeful that following the inaugural season, new life will be breathed into the regional game and allow younger players to break into the West Indies team.
"That's really the intent. The idea is for the women to feel part of a franchise. I feel that's important so that they can see the professionalism of what it takes to achieve success within a franchise environment. I think the fact that we played the women's game with the men's was also important," Russell said.