Stressing a focus on rebuilding, the Jamaica Tallawahs have retained only four regional players for the 2020 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) season, including batting star Andre Russell who recently publicly criticised the franchise.
Russell and his West Indies counterparts, right handed batsman Rovman Powell, fast bowler Oshane Thomas and right-arm fast medium bowler Chadwick Walton were chosen ahead of the CPL draft to represent their home franchise in the upcoming T20 tournament.
“The Tallawahs organization will be seeking to rebuild in 2020,” the Tallawahs CEO Jefferson Miller said in a statement on Thursday.
On the heels of Chris Gayle’s release from Tallawahs last month and his public slamming of management and assistant coach Ramnaresh Sarwan, Russell had indicated 2020 would be his last season with the franchise which he said suffered from unprofessionalism and lack of transparent communication. He had described it as “the weirdest franchise that I have ever played in”.
However, Miller said Tallawahs looked forward to having Russell on its side this year.
“We are extremely excited to have Andre Russell back for another year. Andre was recently named as the leading T20 cricketer in the world by the 2020 Edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack,” he said.
The CEO said Tallwahs were also delighted for the opportunity to retain Thomas and Powell, both rising stars in West Indies and world cricket. He added that they looked forward to having veteran Walton, “who brings a wealth of leadership experience to the team and has been a dominant player over the years in the CPL”, back in the dressing room.
“Overall, we are looking forward to a successful CPL 2020 and returning the championship to Jamaica,” Miller added.
Last year, Tallawahs finished bottom of the table.
All six franchises – Tallawahs, Trinbago Knight Riders, Guyana Amazon Warriors, St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots, and defending champions Barbados Tridents – have announced their Caribbean player retentions and signings.
International retentions and signings will be announced at a later date.
Among the notable changes in the squads for the tournament were big hitter Gayle’s move to Zouks, Knight Riders’ release of Denesh Ramdin who was picked up by Patriots, and Patriots dropping their 2019 captain Carlos Brathwaite.
There had been local media reports that the Barbadian would be signed by Tallawahs but he was not on the list of their Caribbean retentions announced Thursday.
Tridents and Amazon Warriors have retained the core of their squads from last season.
This year, teams were allowed to retain as many players from their 2019 squads as they wished, and could also transfer players to other teams and sign emerging players.
The CPL is scheduled to take place between August 19 and September 26 but organisers are liaising with medical advisors and governments, given the COVID-19 situation, to decide whether it can proceed as planned or must be rescheduled.