The CPL is about to start and remember that (almost) all the info you need is already available here at Bet India. That includes all the CPL team pages which feature the finalised squads, the odds on each team to win, key players for each side and a little bit of history about each team.
Then of course there’s an analysis of the CPL winner market where I think the Trinbago Knight Riders have every box ticked in terms of why they can defend their title and add to their four CPL wins in the process.
But right now, it’s time to look at five players who can make a real splash in this year’s edition of the CPL.
One: he’s an incredibly complicated person. After his involvement in the spot-fixing scandal back in 2010 that saw him serve prison time and be suspended from all cricket for five years, it’s a minor miracle that he returned to professional cricket at the highest level at all.
He returned to international cricket to bowl a mesmeric spell for Pakistan in the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy final against India that won them the game.
But then in 2020 he announced his retirement from playing for Pakistan, pointing the finger at just about anyone in Pakistani cricket and blaming everyone but himself.
Even the most patient and compassionate captain has found him hard to manage. But that brings us to Point Two: he’s still one of the best white-ball bowlers in the world.
His international retirement has opened the door for him to play in just about every T20 league in the world bar the IPL (Pakistani players aren’t allowed to play) and the BBL (he probably will at some stage).
He’ll be making his CPL debut this year for the Barbados Royals. They know perfectly well that his two overs at the beginning and two more at the death can make or break their chances in every match.
Few can swing the ball like him, produce so many different deliveries and take so many wickets. His Barbados Royals are 5.5 with Betway on the online sports betting CPL winner market to win what would be their third CPL title.
Raheem Cornwall (St Lucia Kings)
If you’ve never seen Cornwall play before, you’d be forgiven for thinking that he was plucked from the crowd when a player fell ill just before the game was about to start.
After all, he’s the heaviest player to ever play international cricket.
But don’t judge a book by its cover. He’s not going to run many quick twos nor is he going to cut off many balls on the boundary with some fast running and an athletic slide.
However, he’s a surprisingly agile slip fielder, helped by the fact his hands are more the size of buckets than regular hands.
With the bat, he’s best used as an opener who can clear the field in the Powerplay overs by hitting over the top.
Four fifties in 56 T20 matches suggest he doesn’t often kick on that much. But look at that carrer strike rate: 149. It means he gets on with it and plays without any care because he knows his job is to hit early boundaries rather than accumulate runs.
And of course, let’s not forget he’s a fine off spin bowler; that’s primarily the reason he was called up to the Test squad.
It’s real money odds of 11.0 with Betway that he’s the CPL’s top batsman this season. His record suggests he’s more inclined to hit quick 30s than get to 50 or 60, but you never know.
Mohammad Hafeez (Guyana Amazon Warriors)
The second Pakistani to make the list.
Experience is an often overused word in cricket but it’s not overused when it comes to this guy.
Now 40, he’s represented Pakistan close to 400 times across all three formats and played 331 matches at domestic T20 level.
He’s scored 64 international fifties across the three formats and has over 250 international wickets to go with 160 international catches. You get the picture.
A man who has represented 40 different teams in total throughout his career, he’s a proper all-rounder who bats in the middle-order and can bowl at any time in the innings, including being one of the few spinners who’s happy to open the bowling.
He has a great cricketing brain, which is why they call him The Professor.
Crucially, he’s played plenty of CPL cricket as well, having played for St Kitts and more recently, Guyana, his current team.
If the Amazon Warriors are to win it at 5.0, you’d think he’ll play a big part.
Kieron Pollard (Trinbago Knight Riders)
An obvious pick, but so what?
If Cornwall and Hafeez are three-dimensional players, then Pollard is four, because he’s also the skipper of the Knight Riders.
Not only did he lead the side to an unbeaten campaign in 2021 in his first season as captain but he also took four wickets in the final, despite being an occasional bowler rather than a specialist one.
His medium to slow bowling is very underrated because let’s not forget he’s closing in on 300 T20 wickets to go with another 38 at international level.
As a fielder, he likes to be on the boundary for those rope-hugging catches but he can field anywhere.
But of course it’s his death overs batting as a finisher that really sets him apart. A career strike rate of 152 is brutal and includes 52 fifties and a century in T20s.
Did we mention he was last year’s Player of the Tournament in the CPL? We have now.
He’s a big reason behind why Trinbago are favourites at 3.25.
Fabien Allen (St Kitts and Nevis Patriots)
The fourth all-rounder to make our list but they’re so valuable that that’s why I picked them.
Allen could easily win an award for most improved West Indies player of the last two years because his rise has been rapid.
He’s primarily a left arm orthodox spin bowler who goes at 7.67 an over in domestic T20 cricket and interestingly, just 7.21 in T20Is.
He’s played 28 of those as a regular fixture in the Windies’ side over the past three years as they’ve realised what else he brings to the table.
That includes being one of the best fielders in a side already packed with excellent fielders and he was particularly hot in the field in the recent 4-1 T20 series win over Australia.
As a batsman he won’t score many fifties because he bats at 7 or 8 but his strike rate of 155.61 is even better than Pollard, which tells its own story.
St Kitts are a 6.0 shot and Allen will have to be at his best if they’re to make the final, or better.