Jamaica Tallawahs, the 2022 Caribbean Premier League champions, will not feature in the tournament’s 2024 season and will be replaced by a new franchise based in Antigua and Barbuda.
Kris Persaud, a Guyanese businessman based in Florida, owned the Tallawahs franchise but has sold it back to the CPL. “The owners were left with no option but to sell the Tallawahs back to CPL as they could not find a way to operate the team sustainably,” a CPL spokesperson told ESPNcricinfo.
They will be replaced by an Antigua-based franchise in 2024, which does not yet have a name. The island hosted a franchise named Antigua Hawksbills in the first two CPL seasons, but they won only three matches and were replaced by St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in 2015.
Daryll Matthew, the minister of sports in the Antigua and Barbuda Senate, revealed plans to host a franchise in 2024 earlier this week. “We can expect very easily and conservatively to generate approximately US$6 million per year by simply having a CPL franchise based in Antigua and Barbuda,” Matthew said, as reported by the Antigua Observer.
The CPL intends to relaunch a Jamaica-based franchise in years to come.
“The CPL remains committed to having a team based in Jamaica, but this will be in 2025 at the earliest,” a spokesperson said. “In 2024, there will be six teams taking part in the CPL with franchises based in Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, St Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago.”
West Indies T20 captain Rovman Powell, who led Tallawahs to their second CPL title in 2022, said that it was “disappointing” for his home island to leave their franchise. “Jamaica is the biggest island in the Caribbean, a proud nation, a proud cricketing nation,” he said. “For those things to be happening is a little bit disappointing.”
Sabina Park, the main stadium in Jamaica’s capital city Kingston, will not host any games in next year’s T20 World Cup and last staged international cricket in August 2022. “Obviously I’m a Jamaican and I want to play in front of my home crowd, but for the last few years, I haven’t,” Powell said. “The West Indies Cricket Board and the Jamaican government really have to sit down and have a conversation about that.”
The island has not hosted any CPL games since 2019. The league’s chief executive Pete Russell told the Jamaica Observer last year that he found the government’s reluctance to engage with cricket “baffling”, saying: “It’s always disappointed me that we’ve never been able to break through in terms of with our discussions.”
The 2024 CPL season is expected to start in mid-August and will run into September.
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98