Rovman Powell and Kesrick Williams are shining examples of relative unknowns going on to make their West Indies debuts and earning T20 contracts elsewhere after successful CPL seasons. The tournament is replete with a number of such stories. Ahead of the 2018 edition, ESPNcricinfo picks five players worth looking out for:
Only 24, Chris Green is already a worldly and well-traveled character. He was born in Durban to a South African father and English mother. He then moved to Sydney for his father’s work. He holds a British passport. This year he captained Surrey’s second XI in the South division T20s. He has been part of the Quetta Gladiators and Lahore Qalandars rosters in the Pakistan Super League. He has played four List A matches for New South Wales and is Andre Russell’s team-mate at Sydney Thunder in the BBL. He will be on the other side of the fence, playing for Guyana Amazon Warriors against Andre Russell, who will lead Jamaica Tallawahs, in CPL 2018. And oh, he also played collegiate-level tennis in the US.
Green is primarily an offspinner who bowls non-turning offbreaks in the Powerplay. But he is also a powerful batsman, as he showed during a 27-ball 49 at No. 5 in the Sydney Derby in January. Green was bumped up the order on a suggestion from Thunder’s Director of Cricket Michael Hussey. He joins wristspinners Imran Tahir and Devendra Bishoo in Guyana’s spin attack.
Qais Ahmad (St Lucia Stars)
For once Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman will not be the biggest Afghanistan attractions at a T20 league. The pair are set to be on national duty, and so the spotlight will fall on yet another Afghan prodigy, the legspinner Qais Ahmad. You’ll recall his feats as the second-highest wicket-taker in Afghanistan’s run to the semi-finals in the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand earlier this year. Ahmad is a traditional legspinner, but he also has a fizzing slider up his sleeve. What he lacks is experience: he has played just one T20 so far, taking 0 for 32.
Dominic Drakes (Barbados Tridents)
You may remember Vasbert Drakes, the perennially overlooked West Indian allrounder who hit the most important 27 in Caribbean history . Get acquainted with his son Dominic Drakes, a left-arm fast bowler. He’s highly thought of, even though he’s yet to play T20 cricket, having been fast-tracked into the West Indies A side after playing only six List A games and a solitary first-class match. In four List A games in England in a tri-series involving England Lions and India A, Dominic took three wickets but went at 6.68 an over.
He had also been part of the Cricket West Indies fast-bowling camp alongside his West Indies A team-mates Oshane Thomas, Chemar Holder, and international Keemo Paul in Antigua this year.
You might have seen Sir Viv Richards getting up on his feet and screaming “Roston!” after he had struck his maiden Test century in his second match, leading West Indies to an improbable draw against India at home. You might have heard of the nickname “Crisis Man”. But you might not have watched him play T20 cricket. Roston Chase has played a grand total of two T20s since making his debut in 2012. In his second and last T20 in 2013, he was out hit wicket for 18. He is set for his CPL debut this season, but does he have the power game to succeed?
Glenn Phillips (Jamaica Tallawahs)
The next Brendon McCullum is a pretty heavy tag to wear but that is what Glenn Phillips had to deal with after a table-topping 369 runs in the 2017 Super Smash, New Zealand’s domestic T20 competition. That performance earned him a call-up to New Zealand’s limited-overs squads and even earned a CPL gig that year with Jamaica Tallawahs, whose assistant coach is Mark O’Donnell, also head coach of Auckland Aces. He had a lean run, managing 176 runs in seven innings at a strike-rate of 113.54 and later fell out of favour at New Zealand. Tallawahs, however, have shown faith in him by snapping him up for the upcoming season as well. It’s time for him to remind everyone why there was so much excitement around him last year.