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By Neto Baptiste

Last year’s leading wicket-taker in the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), Hayden Walsh Jr., is comfortable playing to empty stadiums and will perform at his best even if organisers decided to restrict fans from entering venues when or if this year’s tournament is held.

Walsh was one of eight players retained by defending champions Barbados Tridents this week, as plans to stage the tournament between August 19 and September 26 begin to take shape.

“We still have quite some time to try and get ready while we are waiting for the tournament to come around. We see some progress with the region recovering from the virus, and probably at the start, it may affect the tournament where the social distancing is concerned, and it might not, but I am used to playing in front of an empty stadium in regional cricket where pretty much no one comes sometimes, so I guess it would be business as usual,” he said.

Walsh finished last year’s tournament as the most effective bowler after claiming 22 victims in nine matches

The West Indies leg-spinner joins captain Jason Holder, Johnson Charles, Shai Hope and Raymon Reifer, Ashley Nurse and Johnathan Carter as the players retained for the new season by Tridents. Emerging player, Nyeem Young, and Justin Greaves were also retained.

 The Antiguan said he is happy to be rejoining the Tridents.

“Even after the win last year my thinking was to stay at Barbados and build a stronger brand with them and make my name there. My preparation has been going along, most of it is strengthening stuff because that was one of the areas where I needed to improve. It has been affected but I’ve been able to find a way to get it done,” he said.

Walsh, in 2019, had an economy rate of 8.29 runs per wicket. He gave up 279 runs in the process and had one five-wicket haul, taking five wickets for 19 runs from his four overs against the Trinbago Knight Riders. The bowler’s performance earned him a call up to the West Indies ODI and T20 squads.

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