AVAILABLE: Regular Trinidad and Tobago skipper Denesh Ramdin will be available for selection for the semi-final against the Windward Islands starting on Saturday.

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LOOKING AHEAD

Coach Williams upbeat going into semis

By Roger Seepersad

Two days after a disappointing rain-affected draw against Guyana resigned them to the runners-up position on the Regional Four-day standings, Trinidad and Tobago are already moving on and looking forward to the upcoming semi-final against the Windward Islands at Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain bowling off on Saturday.

T&T coach Kelvin Williams said that his players are still confident despite not getting the result they wanted in Guyana and have already shifted their focus to winning the George Headley/Everton Weekes Trophy.

They needed an outright win over Guyana in their final round match at Providence but instead rain on the final day ruined any chance of a result.

The draw meant that Barbados finished at the top of the standings with 82 points to clinch the WICB President’s Trophy while T&T were second with 80.

The Bajans will take on fourth placed Jamaica in the other semi-final at Kensington Oval in Barbados which also starts on Saturday.

The top four teams advanced to semis for the right to play in the final for the George Headley/Everton Weekes Trophy.

“The confidence is still there in the team knowing the success they have had at home,” Williams said as he looked forward to the semi-finals.

“We have won all four matches at home this year so the players will be up for the challenge,” he added.

Looking back at their trip to Guyana, Williams said: “It was a disappointing result knowing that if we had won the game we would have won the title.

“I think we were in a position to actually win on the final day but the rain interrupted whatever plans we had and that is something we could not control,” he added.

Guyana started the final day on 11 for one, chasing 225 for victory but only 29 overs were possible on the final day and the hosts held on, reaching 80 for three to salvage a draw.

“I thought if we actually had the full day’s play we could have won the game,” the coach explained.

“The opportunity was going to be there and T&T were still very much in the game and that was all we were thinking about.

“The players were all up for it. The energy was there from the evening before and in the morning even with a delayed start, we still thought well yes, we could still win it,” he added.

Besides the rain, there was also a crucial dropped catch in the Guyana first innings that helped the hosts battle back after T&T made 294 in their first innings.

Guyana were batting 59 for five at one stage when Leon Johnson and Christopher Barnwell put on 80 for the sixth wicket. They were eventually dismissed for 282.

“We actually put Barnwell down at a crucial time when they were five wickets down and just around 120 on the board. It could have been 120 for six but Johnson came and they built a partnership. That one was quite crucial,” said Williams.

“I also thought (Devendra) Bishoo bowled well after being left out and he actually came back and proved himself. The guys tried to counterattack him. They had a plan but it did not work in their favour,” he said.

Bishoo took nine for 78 in the first innings. The leg-spinner then grabbed and six for 71 in the second as T&T were bowled out for 212.

Looking towards the semi-final, T&T will be hoping a few of their players are passed fit. 

Chairman of selectors Alec Burns confirmed yesterday that regular skipper Denesh Ramdin is available for selection and is hopeful that Akeal Hosein and Evin Lewis will also be cleared for the game.

Hosein was out for three weeks with a thigh strain but returned to action over the weekend for his club Queen’s Park in a two-day Premier Division game when he grabbed four for 35 and seven for 24 as the Parkites beat Munroe Road by an innings and 101 runs.

Lewis suffered a slight groin strain in the Guyana game but Burns is optimistic that he will be available for the weekend match.

The selectors were scheduled to meet late yesterday to select the squad to face the Windwards.

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