Dwayne Bravo and his Red Steel will be aiming for early success on the road when they take on Kieron Pollard’s Barbados Tridents today in the Limacol Caribbean Premier League today. The two Trinidad and Tobago and West Indies teammates face each other in the first match of a double-header at 10.30 a.m. at the National Cricket Stadium.
And Bravo in particular will be eager to win this battle in order to avoid a repeat of the scenario last year when the Red Steel lost by 19 runs to the Guyana Amazon Warriors in their opening match and were then beaten by four wickets by the Tridents and five runs by the Jamaica Tallawahs to be winless in their first three matches.
“Last year, one of our downfalls, we started bad; we started very slow in the tournament; we lost our first three games but was still able to make it to the semi-finals which to me was a great achievement,” Bravo noted. “I’ve stressed (to the players) to make sure that we start better than last year. If we can start off with a win, we have three games again on the road, so within those three games, if we can win two out of those three, heading to Trinidad, it’s going to be a different ball game.”
Pollard’s Tridents had the opposite problem. They began the 2013 CPL with four consecutive wins but lost momentum after qualifying for the semi-finals. “In the back end of the tournament we made a couple changes but you look back and you think about what you did wrong and try to improve that...That’s gone, that’s 2013, this is 2014 and we have to forget about last year and think about this year and at the end of the tournament, you’ll be telling me something different,” he said.
Bravo sought to quell doubts about his readiness for the series. “I will be taking part in the tournament full time,” he said. “My fitness level will be getting better each and every game I play. I had a very good warm-up game the last Saturday before coming here, so it’s been good.”
Like Bravo, Pollard was happy to be playing gain after knee surgery last year and was keen to contribute fully for the Tridents. “That injury I had it could have been career-ending and the work I put in to actually get back on the cricket field is a great feeling for myself but me personally, I’m just looking to do what is required for the team; try to lead by example and try to have my inputs with both bat, ball and in the field,” he said.