When the next edition of the Caribbean Premier League is announced, one of the franchises that draw the most interest is undoubtedly the Barbados Tridents.
Sure, they might not have won the CPL since 2014, and indeed in the 2018 tournament, they actually finished bottom of the six-team league table.
But the players in the Barbados Tridents squad are just so exciting it is hard not to keep an eye on their matches!
Jason Holder, the captain of the West Indies, is the headline star, and he is joined by international teammate Shai Hope, wicketkeeper-batsman Johnson Charles and the explosive Wahab Riaz.
However, they will miss the big-hitting exploits of former England international Alex Hales, who will stay behind on home soil for a while as the Nottinghamshire Outlaws are into the latter stages of the Natwest Blast.
And when we compare the current roster with that of 2018, how could any franchise cope with the loss of Steve Smith, Martin Guptill, Hashim Amla, Dwayne Smith and Roston Chase?
While Holder is the leading star due to his captaincy of the Windies, the player that attracts most of the interest has to be Shai Hope. He is an extraordinary batsman, and despite the failings of many of his teammates in CPL 2018 he still managed to notch 288 runs at an average of 32.00.
However, the Tridents’ batting line-up will be missing the extremely gifted Nicholas Pooran, who contributed 267 runs to the team’s cause. The West Indies international has since transferred to the Guyana Amazon Warriors.
Bowling has also been something of an Achilles heel for this CPL Barbados Tridents franchise. They have Holder and Riaz, who are both match-winners on their day, but there is a certain lack of depth to their roster.
Mohammad Irfan, their best bowler in 2018, will not return, and Imran Khan has joined the Jamaica Tallawahs.
This set of Barbados Tridents players have been unable to replicate the success of the 2014 roster, who won six of their nine group games to qualify for the final as the top team. There, Dwayne Smith’s knock of 59 in front of a packed Warner Park set up the Tridents’ total of 152/6, and when the rain came to disrupt the Guyana Amazon Warriors innings it was Holder who held his nerve with bowling figures of 2-18 to secure an eight-run victory via the Duckworth-Lewis method.
The inability to put out a consistent Barbados Tridents team ever since has cost them dearly, and the closest they have come to repeating their 2014 success came a year later. They once again triumphed in the group phase, but this time they were undone in the final as the Trinbago Knight Riders bludgeoned 178/5 from their 20 overs. The Tridents, despite the heroics of Smith once more, we're unable to chase down their total.
The intervening years have not been kind to this Barbados Tridents CPL side, who have failed to challenge for honours in recent times and have at times been completely outclassed.
Is this the year that the Tridents finally get back into the title-winning picture?
When you consider all of the variables, you might just argue that the current Caribbean Premier League Barbados Tridents roster just lacks the quality to contend for the trophy.
As you may have seen from the CPL betting odds, the Tridents are one of the more fancied teams according to our prices here at 10CRIC, and that’s because of the pedigree they have in this competition and also the potential of the likes of Holder, Riaz and Hope.
But at the same time, we also recognise that there are at least two teams who have an equal, if not better, the chance of winning CPL 2019.
The reigning champions, the Trinbago Knight Riders, are the favourites. They boast a number of T20 specialists in their roster, from Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo to Sunil Narine and Lendl Simmons.
Factor in the explosive New Zealanders, Jimmy Neesham and Colin Munro – the leading run-scorer in CPL 2018, and the Knight Riders have every reason to feel confident about their chances.
The Jamaica Tallawahs are a lively contender too. They lost in the Eliminator in 2018, but if their big-name stars fire they should take some stopping. Chris Gayle, Andre Russell and Oshane Thomas are three of the biggest hitters in West Indies cricket, and they will be joined by a talented roster that includes Glen Phillips, who made a century in the 2018 Eliminator.
Re-signing Rovman Powell, and capturing Imran Khan, are two more smart calls that could help fire the Tallawahs to glory.
Other franchises will rely on a small handful of stars to come up with the goods. Guyana has Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer and Shoaib Malik, St Kitts & Nevis can rely upon Carlos Braithwaite, Evin Lewis and Sheldon Cottrell, while St Lucia’s stacked squad features the ever-popular Darren Sammy, Lasith Malinga, Thisara Perera, the man-mountain Rahkeem Cornwall and the leading wicket-taker in CPL 2018, Fawad Ahmed.
All of which goes some way to explaining the task facing the Barbados Tridents, who arguably lack the depth in their roster to really compete. They have lost so many key names in the off-season, and their inability to defend their scores with tight bowling has ultimately cost them dearly.
That said, it will only take some big performances from the three Hs – Holder, Hope and Hales, plus support from the likes of Riaz, Charles and Raymon Reifer, for them to improve immeasurably on their efforts in recent times.
If you have a bet on the Barbados Tridents, you are wagering on their undoubted potential to shine on the big stage – even if they haven’t delivered in recent editions of the Caribbean Premier League.
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