Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has announced his participation in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), becoming the first international player to be involved in the newly formed T20 league. The CPL is scheduled to begin July 29, and will run till August 26. It will involve six franchise countries: Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago.
So far there are six confirmed West Indian players for the tournament: Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine, and West Indies captain Darren Sammy. As of now, no decision has been made as to which franchise Ponting will be associated with. This is now Ponting's fourth international T20 team, as he is already a part of the Mumbai Indians in the IPL, Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League, and Surrey in English county cricket.
The CPL will contract a total of 90 players, with each franchise team selecting 15 players. Just like the IPL, there are quotas regarding players playing under a certain age, and how many international players a team can field at one time. Each team can field a maximum of four international players, and must have at least four players under the age of 23, with the rest of the squad comprising of local regional players.
"The West Indies has always been one of my favourite cricket destinations," Ponting said. "The mix of entertainment and cricket is the perfect recipe for West Indian cricket fans, as well as the rest of the world. The format and concept is fantastic, and I am sure it will be a huge success right from the start."
Ponting announced his international retirement last year and has since plied his trade in Sheffield Shield, and in the Big Bash League for Hobart Hurricanes. He was picked up by the Mumbai Indians during the IPL auction held in February, and is expected to captain the squad this season.