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In for long haul with CPL – Hollywood actor

In for long haul with CPL – Hollywood actor


Hollywood actor Gerard Butler has said his involvement with the Limacol Caribbean Premier League (CPL) is for the long term, after he arrived in Trinidad to watch the climax of the inaugural event.{{more}}

Scottish-born Butler, whose list of movie credits includes 300, Reign of Fire and Olympus Has Fallen, has secured an equity stake in the Jamaica Tallawahs, and ahead of his side’s semi-final clash with the Barbados Tridents, he confirmed his desire to remain involved as the tournament goes from strength to strength.

“Absolutely (it is a long-term commitment),” he said. “I did not do this just to be in it for a couple of weeks. I did it because I hope this new league is a long-term league and that it keeps going and keeps building, so it is an investment you hope will build, but also (because) it is an excuse to come out here (to the Caribbean) to a place I love.”

Butler is one of several high-profile names to become involved in the Limacol CPL, with fellow actor Mark Wahlberg taking an equity stake in the Barbados Tridents, while Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is involved with the Antigua Hawksbills and is also a tournament sponsor.

“A bit of rivalry (with Mark Wahlberg)?” said Butler. “Absolutely. At one point we were going to invest in the same team and then we thought it would be better to keep it separate – ‘You take Barbados and I will go with Jamaica.’

“He recently Tweeted ‘We are unbeaten’ and I wanted to Tweet back ‘Not any more, because we took you down (with a six-wicket win at Sabina Park on 17 August).’

“We have had a laugh about it and I am so glad he got involved in this as well and I think more will follow without it becoming ridiculous. I think Hollywood will take more of an interest in this and hopefully around the world.”

The 43 year-old actor explained his involvement with the tournament began with a conversation with his friend Ajmal Khan, the founder and chairman of the Limacol CPL.

“He (Ajmal) said there is a chance to create this whole new league, make it really exciting, bring in outside players and it will be the biggest party in sport, because it is going to be in the Caribbean, (so he told me) ‘Think about it and you could get involved in that.’

“I thought ‘You know what, for me it is all about things, that enrich your life experience.’ I want to get involved in different things, so I thought how cool it would be.

“And Jamaica, for me, I have visited there a lot, I have a special affection for that place and they have Chris Gayle, so I thought that would be the one to get involved with.”

Butler attended Thursday night’s first semi-final between the Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel and the Guyana Amazon Warriors, a match won by the Warriors by seven wickets, and he said he could see immediately why the tournament has taken off to such a great extent.

“I see the excitement,” he said. “I ask people ‘What was it like before?’ and they say ‘It was always fun, but now it is a really fun.’ It is much bigger, it is more exciting, it is just more. It feels like it is becoming the European Champions League of the Caribbean.

“I went to the (Red Steel – Amazon Warriors) game and it was a carnival atmosphere… among the people there was a lot of competition, but it was a lot of fun and everyone was having a good time.”

During his stay in Trinidad Butler has taken the opportunity to meet the Jamaica Tallawahs players and staff and was impressed with what he found.

“They are awesome. Chris Gayle came up to me last night at the (hotel swimming) pool and said ‘We were wondering if it was you.’

“There are a lot of personalities in there, but they are very warm and humble and a lot of strong and good players. I am excited and I really feel like I got behind the right team.”

Ahead of his side’s semi-final date with the Barbados Tridents, Butler was convinced his side had the right stuff to lift the inaugural title, something only time would tell.

“I do not THINK (they will win),” he said. “They will. That is how it is. I think they have got what it takes.”

Having made a movie about football, based on the true story of the United States of America team that beat England in 1950, is there scope for a movie about cricket and would he like to be involved?

“Absolutely, I think it would be great to make a cricket movie as you could come at it from many angles, whether it be the sport angle, the dramatic part of that, or somebody from another place that should not be where he is.

“There are a lot of ideas you could put into a great cricket movie. I know Brian Lara wants me to play him, so I think there is a possibility there,” he joked.

The inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League ran until 24 August, with the final at the Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad.