‘I’d have thought you’d have an England Premier League’, says Darren Sammy

"If you look at the Big Bash, the IPL, and even the CPL they keep on improving"

“If you look at the Big Bash, the IPL, and even the CPL they keep on improving”

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Fresh off his stint with Glamorgan in the ongoing Natwest T20 Blast, West Indies Twenty20 captain Darren Sammy has announced that he thought there would be an “England Premier League” by now.

Twenty20 cricket has already become a big hit amongst the cricketing community, especially tournaments like the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL).

“While I have been here a lot of the guys have spoken about it. I just thought England invented T20 and I’d have thought you’d have an England Premier League,” Sammy¬†told ESPNcricinfo. “If you look at the Big Bash, the IPL, and even the CPL they keep on improving.

“A tournament like that should be played over a block of time. I’m not an organiser, but as a player that is how I would want it. All the other leagues, they’ve been able to attract world-class players. But you could sit and talk and come up with loads of different ideas. At the end of the day it’s about people buying into what is done in each country.”

Sammy does not see why an England Premier League couldn’t become the next big thing, especially since they are able to attract top-tier cricketers like himself,¬†Glenn Maxwell, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Junaid Khan, Kevin Pietersen, Saeed Ajmal and Aaron Finch.

“If you look at the IPL, the prime model I suppose for T20, and look at the performances of the Indian players this year it has been tremendous,” Sammy said. “Maybe it’s the influence of having all that international experience in the dressing room.

“When you watch someone like a Dale Steyn bowling with the Indian bowlers, the feedback they get is priceless. Indian players look forward to rubbing shoulders with those internationals. And then you have the mentors like VVS Laxman with all their knowledge.”

To prove his point further, Sammy dwelled upon the positive impact the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) has had in the West Indies. The West Indian skipper explained that people use to be skeptical about the format after Allan Stanford was imprisoned for 110 years for fraud.

“When it was Windward Islands, Barbados, Trinidad and the like, a Barbados versus Trinidad rivalry was always big and it took a while to match that in the CPL,” he said. “Change is not always welcome, but I think we’ve got through that and the response of the fans last year shows they are buying into what franchise cricket is about.

“Fans want to see good, competitive cricket and that’s what the CPL provided last year. It has been great to see full houses, every cricketer dreams of playing in front of large numbers.”

Sammy also pointed out that the West Indies have to start winning more series in order to get more fans to attend Test matches.

“All the formats have a part to play,” Sammy said. “But T20 – and the CPL – offers the fans a new experience. Hopefully we can build on that and some of them will start watching Test cricket. It’s important that West Indies perform well, too, which we haven’t done for a while.”

The 30-year-old added that he has had no regrets since he decided to retire from Test cricket in May.

“I wouldn’t say it’s been odd,” he said. “It’s a decision I made and I’m moving on. When I spoke to the selectors about the direction the Test team was heading it became clear to me. I was thinking about retiring anyway, I didn’t see myself going to South Africa [at the end of the year]. Once I heard about the plans it wasn’t difficult for me.

“I’ve been a big advocate that cricket is not about one person – I understood what they were saying. West Indies cricket comes first.”

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