I'm a big fan of the Caribbean Premier League, which begins this weekend. It’s a fun, carnival atmosphere and the sun will be shining - what more can we ask for at a cricket tournament?
I spent a fair bit of my career playing in the West Indies and it was a brilliant spectacle to be involved in. That sense of fun has helped attract some of the biggest names in cricket, not to mention some great cricket in a gorgeous part of the world. As a spectacle it should be great and I’m expecting a tournament with real flair.
Apart from being in a different part of the world, there aren’t too many differences between the CPL and IPL - and the pedigree of palyers is certainly similar. As I see it, the main difference is that rather than Bhangra music you’ll have Calypso music!
For the fans it promises to be fantastic because the grounds are quite small and that kind of atmosphere will contribute to what should be an exciting tournament with some high calibre cricket and party vibe.
It’s one of those places where everybody loves cricket and everybody acts like they're the most knowledgeable person about cricket you’ve ever met!
You can’t go anywhere without people stopping you and talking to you about the games that are going on or the next game coming up. The players love it and that kind of enthusiasm is infectious and it rubs off on everybody.
WATCH! Swanny interviews Swanny on the CPL...
CPL 2015 - The contenders:
Jamaica Tallawahs are down as favourites at 3.00 but they under-performed a little bit last year, so they would not be my bet. If Chris Gayle carries on playing the way he has been for Somerset then he could win it on his own, but can he deliver time and time again?
They started off really well last year but got overtaken by Guyana and Barbados. They’re a side that looks good on paper, but perhaps they'll find it difficult to gel.
With Gayle and fellow big hitter Andre Russell in the same team, they almost cancel each other out and, as a neutral, I’d rather see those two going up against each other and seeing them face as many balls as they can.
Guyana Amazon Warriors, for me, were the best team last year.
They were beaten in the final by Barbados and it was controversial in the end because they came off for rain and the umpires faffed around - and it cost Guyana the game.
I think Guyana will be after retribution for that, and are a good shout this year. Before a ball is bowled, they're my fancy to win.
Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel
Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel are the team everyone wants to play for in the CPL. They have some of the most beautiful women in the world on that island, a great little ground and an unbelievable atmosphere.
It’s a proper carnival atmosphere and they play some great cricket too. But a bit like Jamaica, they peaked too soon last year and will be looking to bounce back. You can’t write them off; the Bravo brothers are always good performers and Jacques Kallis too, of course.
It will be interesting whether Kallis is back to the top level after his little break from the game. I suspect he will be because he is one of the most naturally talented players I’ve ever seen.
Barbados Tridents won it last year but I don’t think they were the best team in it - they just gelled really well on that occasion.
It will suit them not to be favourites going into the tournament and they'll want to sneak in through the back door like they did last year.
In captain Kieron Pollard, they’ve got one of the world cricket’s finest T20 specialists so they certainly don’t lack experience. Given they won it last year they’ll be keen to retain their title, but I would say they’re only worth an outside bet at 5.50, and a safer bet would be to back them to reach the final at 2.75.
St Lucia Zouks
The St Lucia Zouks are my favourite team by a mile. They only won one game last year but had loads of games that went down to the last over...until finally they'd throw it away. High entertainment value anyway!
Captain Darren Sammy is in charge and he’s the nicest fella in world cricket. They’ve always got a smile on their faces and, while they have a lot of names you wouldn’t have necessarily heard about, they could actually surprise a few people.
Kevin Pietersen is an unknown quantity for me, because he hasn’t played much cricket recently. If he’s in form and hitting the ball well, he can destroy anyone as we all know, but that remaions to be seen.
St Kitts & Nevis Patriots
St Kitts & Nevis Patriots are not blessed with too many big names and are at the bottom of the betting for a reason.
There are quite a few players in their team that no one’s really heard of, except for the likes of Marlon Samuels and Shahid Afridi of course. Samuels is one of a kind, old Marlon! But he’s the kind of player that could be out first ball or hit 100 off 20 balls! You just don’t know what you’re going to get with him.
I’m expecting the Patriots to finish bottom of their group, but I wouldn’t relish playing against them.
Swanny's Quick-fire Tips
CPL 2015 winners... Best bet: Guyana Amazon Warriors to win at 4.50Outside bet: Barbados Tridents at 5.50
CPL 2015 Top tournament batsman... Best bet: Lendl Simmons at 6.00Outside bet: Ross Taylor also worth a shout at 31.00
CPL 2015 Top tournament bowler: Dwayne Bravo at 15.00
Most runs in the tournament: Gayle vs Pietersen Gayle at 1.57