Caribbean Premier League's first expansion team - the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots - came into effect in 2015 supported by St Kitts and Nevis government, as well as the local business community. Although it was intended as a new franchise, St Kitts & Nevis Patriots effectively replaced the Antigua Hawksbills franchise, based in Antigua and Barbuda, in order to make scheduling easier. While things were smooth for the next four years, City Sports, who has also bought Bloem City Blazers, one of the franchises in Cricket South Africa's binned Global T20 League, bought St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in early 2019 and brought a new look to the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots team’s structure.
Led by Windies T20 skipper and the hero of the T20 World Cup in 2016 with four consecutive sixes against Ben Stokes at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata Carlos Brathwaite in this season of the Caribbean Premier League, the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots team has some of the brightest stars in the Caribbean Islands. In the form of Evin Lewis - one of the most sought-after names in the franchise cricket and bought for big bucks in the Indian Premier League- Sheldon Cottrell - a pacer who became an overnight sensation in cricket thanks to his celebrations after a wicket - and Alzarri Joseph - the man who broke Sohail Tanvir’s long standing IPL record on debut for Mumbai - the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots squad already possesses a great core of players. To go with the superstars, the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots squad also includes some upcoming bright stars including Jason Mohammed, Devon Thomas, and Shamrah Brooks. While the question of how effective the star studded the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots CPL squad will be is still up for debate, the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots team is right up there with the best, at least on paper.
After finishing as the wooden spooners in their maiden CPL season, the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots team failed to uplift their sagging fortunes in the following season, but the 2017 season of the Caribbean Premier League brought a breath of fresh air as St Kitts & Nevis Patriots reached the finals, only to lose to Trinbago Knight Riders who won their second title of the league. Although the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots team reached the play-offs in the 2018 season of the Caribbean Premier League, they couldn’t go beyond that - a regular trait that the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots squad will try to end as soon as possible to ensure a flagging end to their 2019 Caribbean Premier League campaign.
Due to consistent bad performances in the league over the last four years, the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots failed to muster any rivalry as such but the Robin Singh-coached team will want to get St Lucia Zouks - due to the region proximity factor - and ensure the fans are engaged beyond the superficiality of a Caribbean Premier League team.
What also adds to the flavour of the season is their new addition to the squad. After Mohammed Hafeez joined the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots squad, the team’s confidence must have bolstered by a huge margin and there is a reason behind that. The Pakistan all-rounder might not be the same force that he was say a couple of years ago, but he still exhibits the same charisma around the team and can be the statesman that the team needs.
Mohammad Hafeez, Rayad Emrit, Devon Thomas (wk), Jason Mohammed, Carlos Brathwaite (c), Evin Lewis, Sheldon Cottrell, Fabian Allen, Alzarri Joseph, Usama Mir, Kjorn Ottley, Laurie Evans, Keron Cottoy, Shamarh Brooks, Jeremiah Louis, Dominic Drakes, Akeem Jordan, Aaron Jones
Mohammad Hafeez, Rayad Emrit, Devon Thomas (wk), Jason Mohammed, Carlos Brathwaite (c), Evin Lewis, Sheldon Cottrell, Fabian Allen, Alzarri Joseph, Usama Mir, Kjorn Ottley
The thing about the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots squad are they have always underperformed and the season they managed to punch above their weight - at least, the perception has come to being - they couldn’t cross the final hurdle. The change in guards to appoint Carlos Brathwaite as skipper of the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots squad, after Chris Gayle led the side with no considerable success last year, might prove to be the start of a fresh year as the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots team will try to go beyond the general position of ending as the wooden spooners, year after year. However, with the Caribbean Premier League taking the flavour of the season, it is possible that the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots team can actually do well this time and a playoff run won’t really be that surprising.
Evin Lewis and Carlos Brathwaite can change the direction of a game in one go, and the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots squad should feel blessed to have power-hitters like him in the mix. While that quite clearly the obvious strength of the side, England’s Laurie Evans, a T20 freelancer of sorts, is also a member of the current St Kitts & Nevis Patriots CPL squad. He has an affinity of scoring runs fluently in all conditions and if he can do that, they Alex Hales won’t be the only English player making all the noise in this edition of the Caribbean Premier League.
Carlos Brathwaite can hit a ball long but can he hit it for long? The St Kitts & Nevis Patriots team’s skipper has been highly inconsistent in T20 cricket and forget the heroics in the 2016 T20 World Cup against England - where his four consecutive sixes sealed the tournaments for West Indies - he has not been that successful in the shortest format of the game. However, if captaincy is additional responsibility, then it should act as an inspiration for the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots team but if it doesn’t, then the team from Saint Kitts and Nevis will be on backfoot, once again.
Apart from that, the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots squad have picked an injury-prone team which might come back to haunt them in the latter part of the tournament. Take Alzarri Joseph for example - he was not there in the squad in the first place but was brought into the squad after Isuru Udana pulled himself out from the Caribbean Premier League to prepare for Sri Lanka’s tour of Pakistan, and no one really knows if Joseph is actually fit to go.
With Fabien Allan, Sheldon Cottrell, and Alzarri Joseph, the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots team have a core that can bring a lot of good news in times to come. The key to unlocking their potential should lie with Brathwaite, who over the years of representing Windies has become more mature and confident as a leader. If the young trio are managed well, then St Kitts & Nevis Patriots will be a force to be reckoned with.
The St Kitts & Nevis Patriots squad is slated to play their first two games away, with Trinbago Knight Riders and Guyana Amazon Warriors being the host for it, but the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots squad will come back to the comforts of the home territory as the team will host Jamaica Tallawahs at the Warner Park in Basseterre. That will also start of five consecutive matches at home before the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots squad will travel to Kingston to play Jamaica Tallawahs once again in the second round of the tournament.
Despite finishing fourth and making the play-offs in the 2018 edition of the tournament, the punters seem to be reluctant in backing St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, as they've been handed odds of 12.00, which is the joint worst for any team in the competition alongside St Lucia Zouks. But nevertheless, with stars like Jason Holder, Alex Hales, Sandeep Lamichchane and Shai Hope in their sheds, St Kitts and Nevis Patriots are the kind of team that can go one a run and win matches in a flurry, thanks to the experience they possess. So do not count out the Patriots.
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