CPL 2021 | Team Preview: Will change in captaincy and name push St Lucia to the title this time?

Abhishek Singh

Abhishek Singh

Author| Aug 22, 8:50 PM

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The St. Lucia franchise changed its name from St. Lucia Zouks to St. Lucia Kings in June this year, to be more in line with its sister IPL franchise Punjab Kings. The Punjab franchise had to change its name prior to the 2021 season of the Indian Premier League. 

And how incidental or weird it would be that even before Punjab Kings could have their outcome of a name change in terms of change in fortune, St. Lucia Kings would have already had theirs, thanks to the rescheduling of the IPL. 

This year, it would be the first time in the team’s history that DarenSmmy wouldn’t be leading them and South Africa’s Faf du Plessis has been named skipper. du Plessis was also named skipper of The Hundred franchise Northern Superchargers, but couldn’t recover in time from the concussion that he encountered during PSL 2021, to play for the Superchargers. It would be interesting to see if he plays in the CPL and how. 

St. Lucia Kings Squad

Rahkeem Cornwall, Keemo Paul, Andre Fletcher, Kesrick Williams, Obed McCoy, Mark Deyal, Roston Chase, Javelle Glen, Keron Cottoy, Jeavor Royal, Kadeem Alleyne, Alzarri Joseph

Overseas: Faf du Plessis (c), Samit Patel, Wahab Riaz, Usman Qadir, Tim David

Head Coach: Andy Flower, Team Mentor: Daren Sammy

Bowling the best bet for Kings to go all the way

The Kings in the display have the likes of Wahab Riaz, Obed McCoy and Kesrick Williams as three of the suited t20 bowlers in the ranks who with their pace and the change of it can work any batting line-up up. Wahab has tons of experience in T20 cricket, so much so that he has played for 45 different clubs in his 16 years and 281 matches old career where he has picked up 338 wickets. 

Williams on the other end has been part of the CPL for a long time has played 100 T20s, giving a glance as to what can be expected from him. Along with his signature celebration, he has 129 wickets which means he is mostly trusted with the ball in the teams that he plays. 

McCoy is young but highly impactful with the change of pace and he has shown that in the series against South Africa and Australia that West Indies played recently. In fact, he picked 14 wickets in his last matches. 

Others in the pace battery include two more West Indian quicks who can bat as well in the form of Keemo Paul, Alzarri Joseph. They are such players who can win games at least once in the season with sheer ability on their day. 

Along with pace, the spin department is bustling with talent as well. While Samit Patel and Sman Qadir are established T20 names, it is the local talent in the form of Rahkeem Cornwall, Javelle Glen and Roston Chase along with newbie Jeavor Royal that makes it a hell of an attack. With so many options to choose from, it is really going to be a hard time for skipper du Plessis to chose his bowling attack. 

Batting is a weak link

While there is no dearth of options in terms of bowling, the batting unit of the Kings looks comparatively weaker. They have the experience of du Plessis and all-rounder, Patel and also the good form of Tim David. But apart from that, there is not a single player who could be trusted to play according to the situation.  

Andre Fletcher, the Spiceman can no doubt kick some storm on his day, but he has his days in one out of six-seven games and this tournament isn’t that long that Kings could afford for him to keep on misfiring. Will Roston Chase be able to score quickly is another question because it takes time for both Samit Patel and Faf to settle down as well and a team can’t afford to have three similar batters in the XI. 

Others who can bat include Keron Cottoy, Mark Deyal and Kadeem Alleyne. There isn’t much evidence to prove that these batters could bat the team out in crucial situations. Mark Deyal at the top could be handy no doubt. 

The magic combination that could win them the title

The team finished second last season and what worked the most in their favour was their bowling and the captaincy of Daren Sammy. The main bowler, Scott Kugglein is no more part of the Kings and Daren Sammy is not the captain either, although he would still remain in the dugout. But as they say, every season can’t be the same. 

Hence, the cocktail that could work for Kings this season is Tim David and Samit Patel’s big-hitting combined with the anchor batting of skipper Faf du Plessis at the top and Fletcher being given free hand to play as he wishes. If this is done in batting and Usman Qadir and Cornwall are able to weave their magic with the ball, then the pace trio of McCoy, Williams and Joseph could be risked in all games. 

Can they win it?

With the side that they have got, the best finish for them could be nothing less than the title. They have an anchor in the batting in form of du Plessis, an aggressor in Fletcher,  a middle-order stabiliser in Patel and a finisher in David. In bowling, they have more than a decent off-spinner in Cornwall and a supremely talented leg spinner in the form of Usman Qadir to go with a master of change of pace in McCoy. 

If you can’t win with a team as good as this, it would be hard to win with any other as well.

Probable Playing XI

Faf du Plessis (c), Andre Fletcher (wk), Mark Deyal, Roston Chase, Samit Patel, Tim David, Alzarri Joseph, Rahkeem Cornwall, Usman Qadir, Kesrick Williams, Obed McCoy

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