West Indies T20I captain Carlos Brathwaite is all set to lead the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots team in the upcoming 2019 edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), which will get underway on September 4.
The 31-year-old has been part of the Patriots since the introduction of the franchise in 2015 and he will take over the role from swashbuckling batsman Chris Gayle, who will feature for the Jamaica Tallawahs this season.
Reflecting on his appointment as the captain of the Patriots, Brathwaite said he could not wait to get the season underway.
“I’m very excited! I think we had a good last couple of years where we challenged really well on the field, we went to the final and then we made it to the playoffs as well. So, this year is about trying to continue that same thought process, that same set of game plan and try to be as attacking as we could potentially be. Obviously, we had Chris [Gayle] and Evin [Lewis] at the top," the CPL official website quoted Brathwaite as saying.
Brathwaite further admitted that his side need to find someone who could make significant contribution to the team's performance as Gayle.
“Chris is now gone so we need to find a replacement for Chris, probably not in the same style that he would play, but with the results that he would normally bring to the team. Obviously, that’s another big character gone in the dressing room as well, so we have to manoeuvre slightly differently, but we need the same results where we challenge for the top four and then once we get to the top four, we challenge for the title.”
Gayle was a big part of the recent success the Patriots have achieved, but he has now moved back to his native Jamaica Tallawahs. Brathwaite credited Gayle's calm presence as the skipper over the last two seasons besides his tally of 659 runs in 23 matches for the franchise.
“I think people look for the shouting and the ‘hurrah’ and Chris is not necessarily that. He’s more calm, collective, cool. He leads by example. He has the respect of everyone in the dressing room, so whenever he speaks you know his words are worth the weight in gold. I think a lot of people take his coolness and his calm persona for granted but there’s very much a whole heap of respect in all the dressing rooms I’ve been fortunate enough to play alongside him in, everyone in the dressing room gives him maximum respect," he said.
Even without Gayle, the Patriots have a very strong and experienced squad for the 2019 season. They have six players who took part in the recently concluded cricket World Cup, including Brathwaite.
With the likes of Sri Lankan all-rounder Isuru Udana, Pakistani stalwart Mohammad Hafeez and West Indian talent like Lewis and Fabian Allen, the Patriots will be looking to make it to the knockout stages for a third successive year.
Brathwaite says that mix of international and local talent is such a huge part of the CPL for players, with the tournament allowing Caribbean players to develop their game as well as leaving a lasting impression on overseas stars.
“CPL gives you the chance to perform on a big stage. As a local it’s kind of different travelling around and there’s only four spots available for overseas players and you always have to try to be one of the four as opposed to being one of the seven. So firstly, it gives you the opportunity to play in franchise cricket as one of seven, and then it gives you the opportunity to learn from four or five other guys in the dressing room coming from a different background; different culture; different ways of training; different ways of living life," he said.
The St Kitts and Nevis Patriots will begin their CPL 2019 campaign against Trinbago Knight Riders at Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain on September 5.