Graeme Swann’s CPL Blog: Batsmen Impress, But Spinners Are In Charge!


Not even the washout in St Lucia in the second match could dampen the start to this year’s Caribbean Premier League, and we’ve seen some great action already.

The Barbados Tridents have managed to get a couple of early wins on the board thanks to posting some good totals, and we’ve seen some great hitting from some of the West Indian batsmen – although not the one that everyone is waiting for!

 

Charles In Charge

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At the time of writing, the biggest individual score of the tournament belongs to the St Lucia Zouks opener Johnson Charles, who batted his side to a seven-wicket win over the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots thanks to 69 not out off 44 balls.

I like Charles. He was impressive in this tournament last year and can be a really dangerous player.

He’s not quite scored the runs he would have liked for the West Indies, but at 26 he’s certainly got time on his side. He hits the ball so cleanly, has got off to a great start and is going to be one to watch in the top runscorer markets.

 

Saluting Marlon

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Charles and the Zouks might have beaten the Patriots, but that wasn’t without an excellent 52 not out from Marlon Samuels, who is an incredibly talented cricketer.

We all know him over here for his famous salute to Ben Stokes during the Test series against England – although that seemed to get Stokes in the mood for the New Zealand series, so thanks Marlon! – but he was in fantastic nick with the bat when I saw him out there.

On the outside some say that he’s a bit lazy and bit disruptive, but he’s a great player and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him chalk up a few more big innings in this tournament.

Two others who have got off to good starts with the bat are the Zouks’ Andre Fletcher and Dwayne Smith of the Barbados Tridents, who is a fantastic hitter of a cricket ball but has never quite got the runs that people expect of him. It’ll be interesting to watch his development throughout the tournament.

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No Gayle Force Yet

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Everyone was waiting for Chris Gayle to get going for the Jamaica Tallawahs in Bridgetown, but ultimately he only got nine off 15 balls.

Of course we all know what he can do, but it is worth remembering that the bowlers somewhat worked him out in this tournament last year and he wasn’t quite as his destructive best.

They bowled full, inswinging deliveries to him and he wasn’t as prolific as he was in the IPL. They know more about him in the West Indies than they do in the other parts of the world so it’s going to be fascinating to see how they bowl to him.

 

Reliant Robin

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Speaking of bowling, I got a bit of stick for not paying the bowlers too much attention in my tournament preview but I’m more than happy to change that with some praise of a fellow spinner.

The Tallawahs’ Robin Peterson took 3-26 against the Tridents and it was good to see him in the wickets.

Robin is an old hand and a really talented player I remember facing for England under-19s. He’s a really good ODI and Twenty20 bowler, and a good example of why spinners enjoy T20 cricket.

Because as a spinner you might get tonked but you’ll pick up wickets, as the more pace there is on the ball the easier it is to hit. When there’s spin on the ball and it’s moving laterally, the bat speed means that they often find it tough to get you away. The batsman then gets frustrated and it’s easier for you.

There’s no surprise that seven or eight of the top 10 T20 bowlers in the world are spinners, and long may that continue!

 

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