It’s an opportunity of a lifetime and Canadian all-rounder Nikhil Dutta intends to make the most of it.
He’s among six young Americas players invited to Caribbean Premier League (CPL) cricket camps that will also include four West Indian youth players from each of the six Caribbean countries represented by franchises.
Of the 30 players, six will be selected to play for a franchise in the third CPL Twenty/20 season from June 21 to July 26.
Dutta is using the next four months to prepare for the challenge.
“Obviously, the competition is going to be tough for those coveted six spots,” said the Ryerson University student. “I am working on improving my fitness level and becoming more proficient in some batting and bowling areas. For the 20-over game, I am trying to hit the ball more over the bowler’s head and when it comes to bowling, I am seeking to be more consistent in getting the ball in the right spots and varying my pace. In this format, you become too predictable and will be hit hard when you bowl consecutive balls with the same space in the same area.”
The off-spinner and middle-order batsman was among three Canadian cricketers who took part in a three-week camp in Barbados in September 2013 conducted by Pakistan off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq. He also attended a one-week International Cricket Council (ICC) High Performance camp in Barbados two months ago.
“That was a good camp,” said Dutta, who last summer spent six weeks with Stanmore Cricket Club in the Middlesex League. “We had five competitive games and everything went well.”
The other Americas players who will participate in the CPL training camp are Canadians Nitish Kumar, who is attending school in England; all-rounder Farhan Malik and medium pacer Satsimranjit Dhindsa, American wicketkeeper/batsman Steven Taylor and Bermudan Christian Burgess, who was the leading scorer at the World Cricket League Division Three tournament last October with 166 runs.
“I think it’s going to be a great learning experience to be part of a training camp like that with first-class and international players,” said ICC regional development officer, Tom Evans. “If they are lucky enough to get that contract and to be part of a pro cricket league, which will be really exciting. It’s a great opportunity and we will be working over the next four months before the June camps to get them in the best position possible to be able to succeed and get selected.”
A newly-formed St. Kitts & Nevis franchise will replace Antigua Hawksbills in this year’s tournament. The other franchises are defending champions Barbados Tridents, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Jamaica Tallawahs, St. Lucia Zouks and Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel.