FOUR-TIME Caribbean Premier League T20 champions Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) have been announced as main sponsors of the 2024 Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) T20 Festival.

This was confirmed by CPLT20 CEO Pete Russell at the tournament launch on Tuesday, which was held at the National Cricket Centre, Couva. The competition bowls off on April 26.

Russell and TTCB president Azim Bassarath said TKR’s sponsorship is geared towards uncovering the future stars of cricket, of which the franchise will be the main beneficiary.

“It’s an investment to make sure this tournament is able to run and achieve all the objectives of the cricket board,” Russell said.

“We’ve been advised and put the money where we think is necessary. CPL only exists because of the players. You’ve got to make sure you’ve got a good treadmill of good players coming through. We worked very closely with the president to make sure this is going to be the best it can possibly be.”

Russell added that this could be a spark which ignites a regional development tournament for younger age, since they plan to support the local game, and all the territories that play.

He was pleased to collaborate with the local cricket board and get involved in helping develop and unearth upcoming talents in the shorter format.

“We’re very involved and TKR is the local brand. TKR are really going to be the beneficiaries in terms of the players. It’s important for CPL that we have our teams being involved in opportunities like this.

“I think this is a really good opportunity to be out front and really visual about it (giving back) to show our support to the number of domestic T20 tournaments. It was great that the president came and talked to us about it and we just jumped at it,” he said.

Bassarath was elated for the partnership and believes TKR’s involvement will up the ante of the domestic T20 league. He called on spectators of the domestic game and die-hard franchise fans to come out and support the competition.

“The hype TKR will generate, for even spectators, we hope they will come out now that TKR is on board with us. We are hoping we can get some endorsement from the owner of the TKR Group, Shah Rukh Khan, and that will maybe be the boost or impetus to get spectators to come out to the games,” he said.

Bassarath, who’s also vice president of Cricket West Indies, also used this platform to highlight the importance of the Caribbean possibly returning to staging its own regional T20 competition (for nations not franchises).

He added that while the region’s best is selected for the annual CPL, and the other slots filled by international cricketers, some Caribbean players are overlooked, and this potential Caribbean T20, could provide them an opportunity to still compete at a high level.

“We feel that a Caribbean T20 tournament is important. Everyone will not be able to find themselves into franchise teams in the Caribbean because international players are also involved. But it is important for us to start some sort of regional T20 tournament.

“With this tournament, those who were not able to get into a franchise team will be able to address the regional selectors if we have a regional T20 tournament,” he said.

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