Every year, the Caribbean Premier League puts us face to face with some relative unknowns, who go on to establish themselves in their national sides or land T20 gigs in various other leagues. This time, quite a few foreign stars are unavailable due to other commitments, but there are still enough players to watch out for - here are five of them.
Chemar Holder (Barbados Tridents)
Much like fellow Bajan Jason Holder, Chemar can generate steep bounce and swing the new ball as well. It was on bright display during the four-dayers against India A, where Chemar was the joint-highest wicket-taker with 15 strikes in three games. Chemar has been similarly impressive in List A cricket, but has only played three T20s so far, managing three wickets at an economy rate of 9.81.
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However, he has been part of Cricket West Indies' emerging players' camp in the past and is on the fringes of national selection. A few eye-catching performances this season could well see him play alongside the other Holder for West Indies.
John Campbell (St Lucia Zouks)
Campbell is just eight limited-overs internationals old, but has shown enough attacking enterprise as an opening batsman. In May, Campbell combined with Shai Hope and amassed the biggest opening stand (365) in ODIs, in Dublin. He had also given a good account of himself in the domestic 50-over tournament last year, hitting 298 runs in seven innings for Jamaica at a strike rate of 94.30.
The method behind the left-hander's hitting is simple: clear the front leg, maintain a still head, and belt the ball through the leg side. If he can do that consistently and give St Lucia some rousing starts, Colin de Grandhomme and Thisara Perera will have a platform to launch themselves from.
Laurie Evans (St Kitts & Nevis Patriots)
England's Evans is no Chris Gayle or Andre Russell, but has become a T20 globetrotter of sorts, making it to the Bangladesh Premier League, Pakistan Super League, Afghanistan Premier League and now the CPL, after making a splash in the T20 Blast. Evans, however, found no takers at the IPL auction. He is set to fly out to the Caribbean after completing his Sussex duties in the ongoing Vitality Blast.
All eyes will be on Alex Hales this CPL, and, as the only other English player in the tournament, Evans will likely fly under the radar. Unless he can do what he can do consistently enough - that could earn him an IPL gig as well.
Mark Deyal (Trinbago Knight Riders)
Having a mystery spinner is the fantasy of every T20 team. Believe it or not, Trinbago Knight Riders have the luxury of two of them - who can also pitch in with the bat - in their ranks: Sunil Narine and Mark Deyal.
Deyal was part of Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel in the CPL previously as a middle-order batsman. He has since added mystery spin to his repertoire - he can turn the ball both ways with his knuckles - and in the inaugural Global T20 Canada, he even doubled up as a pinch-hitter at the top of the order. Deyal also has the experience of playing in number of leagues in the USA. Can he make a bigger leap and do a Narine with Narine this CPL?
Mohammad Hasnain (Trinbago Knight Riders)
"I have never seen [an] 18-year old bowl at such pace. Hasnain's control over his length and swing is very impressive and he varies his pace very well."
Shane Watson, Hasnain's Quetta Gladiators team-mate in the Pakistan Super League, delivered a glowing appraisal of the teenager ahead of his ODI debut against Australia in the UAE in March. Heck, Waqar Younis sees shades of himself in Hasnain. Hasnain hit speeds north of 150kph and was the Man of the PSL final earlier this year. He subsequently broke into Pakistan's ODI side and pinged Aaron Finch on his helmet with a 147kph thunderbolt on debut.
Hasnain, 19 now, is not yet proven at the top level, but his out-and-out pace has excited TKR. Unfortunately, he will be available for the side's first three games only. It is understood that Hasnain has been granted an NOC till September 12 and will then return home for domestic duties. It will indeed be a short stint, but his new-ball partnership with USA's Ali Khan promises to set the pulse racing in the opening week.