The Caribbean Premier League (CPL) is the first major T20 league to be held since the Covid-19 pandemic. Matches during the CPL 2020 are taking place at two venues in Trinidad behind closed doors and the IPL franchises, most of whom who also own the teams in the CPL, will be keenly watching the proceedings and see how the event unfolds.
Accordingly, St Lucia Zouks’ Head Coach Andrew Flower, who is also the Coach No. 2 for the Kings XI Punjab, feels that one of the most challenging aspects for the players to play during the pandemic has been to preserve the bio-secure bubble and ensure it stays intact.
“The Trinidad government wanted a very strict regime given the dire consequences of the spread of this disease. So the first week after we arrived for the tournament in early August, we were in our rooms and that’s pretty much it.
“The second week was a lot easier but what the stringent measures have done is to give players and staff a little bit of down time to relax, adjust, and take their foot off the gas. But now as the tournament has begun, we have ramped up our preparations and are putting on a show.”
Flower coached the Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and said that during the tail end of the tournament when the lockdowns were being announced around the globe in March, the league had decided to play last few matches behind closed doors.
From that experience, Flower says, the intensity will be low before the first ball is bowled but the vibe changes soon after the action begins.
“It is going to be different. The PSL tried a couple of games where it played behind the closed doors. It was strange warming up in a big stadium where all the players are used to good vibrant crowds and no more so in the Caribbean. This is quite weird but my experience of it is that as soon as a player bowls that first ball and we get into the competitive aspect of the sport, players get carried away with the flow. So we should be least worried about the quality and the intensity of the game because playing in these circumstances might be different but it doesn’t mean one can’t put on a show.”