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Barbados Royals, a force to reckon with despite losing international stars

Last updated on 17 Aug 2023 | 06:56 AM
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Barbados Royals, a force to reckon with despite losing international stars

Without the likes of Miller, de Kock and Mujeeb, can the Royals deliver back-to-back good seasons for a change?

2018 - Wooden spoon

2019 - Champions

2020 - Second last

2021 - Wooden spoon

2022 - Runners-up

Barbados Royals have been boom or bust over the previous few Caribbean Premier League (CPL) seasons. After a title win in 2019, they came close to adding to their trophy cabinet in the last season but fell short in the final. 

With a similar core of local players but an overhaul in the overseas personnel, the Royals will be aiming to go a step further. 

Changes made

Let us talk about the local contingent first. In one of the biggest transfers in the league, the Royals signed the West Indies’ T20 skipper, Rovman Powell. The 30-year old led Jamaica Tallawahs to the title last year and will bolster Royals’ middle-order in his first season away from his home franchise. 

The Royals also signed Alick Athanaze, the new kid in the West Indies’ setup. While he has impressed in his two Tests and four ODIs, Athanaze is yet to play T20 cricket at any professional level. Oshane Thomas, Devon Thomas and Hayden Walsh have moved out of the Royals. 

In the overseas personnel, the Royals have lost each of the seven players who represented them last season. None of David Miller, Quinton de Kock, Corbin Bosch, Azam Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Najibullah Zadran and Harry Tector will don their jersey this year. Maheesh Theekshana, Roelof van der Merwe, Laurie Evans, Qais Ahmad, Donovan Ferreira have been signed instead. 

Player Availability

Rassie van der Dussen is unavailable for the season and is replaced by Evans. Theekshana will also miss the first half of CPL 2023 due to international commitments, with Qais Ahmad filling in for him. 


> The Royals will rely on their big lot of all-rounders - Rahkeem Cornwall, Kyle Mayers, Jason Holder and van der Merwe. All four of them can be included in the XI at the expense of only one overseas player. This ensures the Royals have plenty of bowling options alongside a deep batting line-up. Ahmad and van der Merwe take care of the finger spin and wrist spin quota. 

> Death overs should not be a problem for the Royals. In Powell and Ferreira, they have two designated finishers. They also possess one of West Indies’ better death overs bowlers in their setup - McCoy. 


> The Royals were the best batting side last year but four of their top six run scorers are not in the squad this time. The replacements are decent but don’t carry the same intimidating look. With Miller and de Kock gone, the two-time champions are also lean on the left-handed batting options. Batting hence becomes a threat to their campaign, especially when you consider their performance before the 2022 season. 

> Ferreira is the only wicketkeeping option in the whole squad. 

Players to watch out

The absence of key players makes it imperative for Kyle Mayers to fire with the bat. Over the last two seasons, the left-hander has averaged 27.7 at a strike-rate of 130.8 for Barbados. These are decent numbers but without the international pedigree of the same ilk as they had last year, Barbados would want him to be among the top five run-scorers of the season. Also, his new ball spells could be crucial. In short, Mayers is the MVP of this Barbados Royals’ squad. 

Probable First Choice XI

Alick Athanaze can be expected to take the number four spot given he is a left-hander. Qais Ahmed, van der Merwe, Cornwall should be the three spinners. Ramon Simmonds, a left-arm seamer, could take the remaining fast bowler’s spot in the XI. 

Kyle Mayers, Rahkeem Cornwall, Laurie Evans, Alick Athanaze, Rovman Powell ( c ), Donovan Ferreira (wk), Jason Holder, Roelof van der Merwe, Ramon Simmonds, Qais Ahmad, Obed McCoy

First match

Barbados Royals will begin their campaign in the season's second match, facing St. Lucia Kings on August 18, 4.30 am IST.

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