The fifth edition of the Dream 11 Vincy Premier League (VPL) T/10 cricket competition has come and gone, but has left a sweet taste in many people’s mouths.
From April 10-13, the Arnos Vale Playing Field here in St Vincent and the Grenadines was bubbling with fast paced, exhilarating Cricket, that was packaged for local consumption and international intake via streaming and television.
Started in 2020 as a breather and temporary stress relieve during the heightened Covid-19 pandemic period, the subsequent editions have placed the competition high on the country’s sporting agenda.
What then made the VPL 5.0 different from the previous ones?
First up, it was the most competitive thus far, as the teams are levelling out, with none a distinct cut above the others.
The meticulous selections and undoubtedly, the inclusion of some big names in West Indies Cricket are contributing factors that made VPL 5.0, a different proposition.
So the likes of Carlos Brathwaite (a former West Indies T/20 captain), Jonathan Carter and Chadwick Walton, who have also represented the West Indies in the shorter formats, along with the presence of other regional players such as Roshon Primus, Jerome Jones and Shadrack Descartes, left their mark on the tournament.
Those six were among other newbies that include Navin Stewart, Ravendra Persaud, Ryshorn Williams.
The debutants joined regional players – Vincentian born – Jomel Warrican, along with Andre Fletcher, Ryan John and Kadeem Alleyne, who were part of the 2022 edition.
The presence of these regional players has boosted the VPL’s status, and provided a platform for some players’ fledging career, as well as keeping those who are in their twilight period, relevant and active.
Critically too, the addition of such international experience, hopefully, our local players would have come away with wider knowledge of the sport , having garnered some intelligence from those who would have played in different corners of the globe.
More so, it cannot be one-way traffic as the local cohort of players has to think otherwise, and prepare to take their talents beyond the VPL, and put their names into the hats of other regional T/10 tournaments.
So as the VPL inches up the ante and gaining prominence, this column can safely assess, and devoid of making a cliched declaration that VPL is now a brand, that can only get bigger and better.
A combination of innovations by the organisers and clutched by the Vincentian public, the VPL product continues to evolve into a cultured package.
As such, the VPL has gone beyond a social and sporting exercise, but is indeed an economic boost for St Vincent and the Grenadines, as the net benefits are accrued.
The increase in the winner’s purse to $30 000, is more than encouraging, which is consistent and indicative of the VPL’s growth and acclamation.
Hence, this column holds great optimism that local players, which make up over 85 per cent of the six teams’ quota, that they can become the beneficiaries of the financial windfall anticipated in future VPLs.
It is therefore no gainsaying and reiterating, that the VPL is a business venture, however, the main actors (players) must partake of the main course.
Hopefully we can see more partnerships and synergies forged among the private and public sectors, in conjunction with the organisers of the VPL brand.
Amidst the glowing potentialities, the organisers must be cognizant that it is people driven and engaging the local populace is utmost for the promotion and sustaining interest in the VPL.
Every effort must be exerted within the many planning sessions to ensure people participation.
Above all, there has to be tangible input into the country’s Cricket youth development programme.
This is within the reality that the St Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association Inc. MUST benefit from the profits that Dream 11, the main sponsor and business partner, allocate to the
organizing committee of the VPL.
All in all, St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Cricket has to get that much needed financial injection.