After Praveen Tambe , Ambati Rayudu becomes the second Indian to play in the Men’s CPL
Ambati Rayudu could become the second Indian to play in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) as he has been signed by the St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots for the upcoming season.
After retiring from international and Indian cricket post guiding Chennai Super Kings to their fifth IPL title in May this year, the 37-year-old has been unveiled by the Texas Super Kings as one of their marquee signings for the inaugural Major League Cricket competition in the United States.
But just five days before the league’s commencement, Rayudu has withdrawn his name amidst a proposal from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to initiate a one-year cooling-off period for players participating in overseas franchise leagues.
If approved, Rayudu’s presence could further boost the Indian presence in the Men’s CPL. Earlier, leg-spinner Praveen Tambhe was the first Indian to play in the Men’s CPL when he was with the Trinbago Knight Riders in 2020. There are two other Indian cricketers – Sunny Sohal and Smit Patel – who have played in the Men’s CPL, but they qualified for the USA. This season will also see Shreyanka Patil becoming the first Indian to feature in the Women’s CPL, having been signed by the Guyana Amazon Warriors.
Rayudu will replace South African all-rounder Tristan Stubs in the Patriots, who is now unavailable for CPL 2023. He contacted former Tamil Nadu all-rounder Malolan Rangarajan, who has been appointed as the head coach of the Patriots, and has also been a part of the support staff for both the men’s and women’s teams at Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL. In the past, Robin Singh and Abhishek Nayar have coached CPL franchises.
Rayudu expressed, “I am excited to be a part of St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots. I am eager to contribute positively to the team’s cause in the upcoming CPL 2023.”
Rayudu’s presence could potentially aid the Patriots in filling the gap left by Dwayne Bravo’s return to his home franchise team, the Trinbago Knight Riders. Rayudu brings with him experience of playing in over 100 IPL matches and winning six IPL titles, the most alongside Rohit Sharma.
Patriots owner Mahesh Ramani stated I believe that Ambati’s experienced expertise in winning multiple championships with different teams in his illustrious career in India will undoubtedly enrich the experience of our young players as we aim to chase our second CPL title in 2023.
The Patriots’ Director of Cricket T.A. Adishwar is also eager to work with Rayudu, saying, “I am thrilled to welcome Ambati to St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots. He is one of the best players in the IPL and we have seen how crucial experience is in such big tournaments. I am excited to share his rich experience with the team.
As per the current scenario, Indian players can only participate in overseas leagues once they have retired from international cricket and tournaments sanctioned by the BCCI, such as IPL. Recently, Unmukt Chand, Robin Uthappa, Yusuf Pathan, and S Sreesanth have participated in franchise leagues shortly after retiring from international cricket.
The Men’s CPL 2023 will take place from August 16 to September 24 across five Caribbean islands. The CPL overlaps with the Hundred and the knockouts of the Lanka Premier League, which are scheduled from August 1 to August 27 in England and Sri Lanka, respectively. The Patriots will begin their campaign against reigning CPL champions the Ticker Tech Ticker in Saint Lucia on August 19.