Cricket 2 years ago

Watson key in cricket's new US advance

  • Watson key in cricket's new US advance

    MOHALI, INDIA - MARCH 27: Shane Watson of Australia bats during the ICC WT20 India Group 2 match between India and Australia at I.S. Bindra Stadium on March 27, 2016 in Mohali, India. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Shane Watson is excited to be at the forefront of cricket's latest attempt to boom in the United States, when the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) take games there next month.

Watson is one of few Australians involved in the Twenty20 tournament, which starts on Wednesday when his St Lucia Zouks travel to Trinidad.

The CPL won't garner as much global attention as the Indian Premier League because of a range of factors, most notably the time zone and talent.

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But much of the cricket world will undoubtedly be watching on July 28-31, when six CPL games are held in Florida.

It'll be the first time CPL matches have been hosted in the US, and the first high-profile cricket fixtures there since Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar organised three exhibition games in 2015.

It is an untapped market the International Cricket Council is all too well aware of, having previously floated the prospect of hosting a World Twenty20 tournament in the US.

"This is a great opportunity, not just for CPL but for the game of cricket internationally. It's huge," Watson said.

"Every single player I've spoken to about CPL is raving about being part of this.

"Hopefully the popularity of the game will just grow and grow. It's a privilege to be a part of something new."

CPL boss Damien O'Donohoe expects the four days of action at Fort Lauderdale will sell out.

"There's a massive appetite for top-class professional cricket across the USA and we have seen significant sales across Lauderhill and greater Florida," O'Donohue said.

"As well in some key markets including New York, Texas and as far west as Los Angeles."

The CPL has long flaunted its Hollywood connection in the form of actors Mark Wahlberg and Gerard Butler, who both have stakes in franchises.

It can't match the quality and quantity of stars on offer in the IPL; as is the case with the Big Bash League there will be no Indians taking part.

But a gap in South Africa's schedule means the likes of AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn, Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla and Morne Morkel have signed up.

Chris Gayle headlines a long list of representatives from West Indies' squad that won the World T20 earlier this year.

Watson will be joined by fellow Australians Michael Hussey, Adam Zampa, Brad Hodge, Chris Lynn and Alex Ross.

The Australians' salaries range from $A170,000 to a tick under $A9830.

AUSSIES IN THIS YEAR'S CARIBBEAN PREMIER LEAGUE

St Kitts and Nevis Patriots: Brad Hodge ($US90,000)

St Lucia Zouks: Shane Watson ($US130,000), Michael Hussey ($US90,000)

Guyana Amazon Warriors: Adam Zampa ($US60,000 USD), Chris Lynn ($US90,000)

Jamaica Tallawahs: Alex Ross ($US7500)

OTHER NOTABLE INTERNATIONALS TAKING PART

AB de Villiers, Brendon McCullum, Dale Steyn, David Miller, Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla, Kumar Sangakkara, Martin Guptill, Morne Morkel, Shakib Al Hasan, Shoaib Malik, Sohail Tanvir, Thisara Perera, Umar Akmal.

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