With a number of first team regulars on West Indies duty, Trinidad and Tobago's fringe players will have the perfect opportunity to force their way into the final T&T Champions League 15-man squad.
Rayad Emrit will take T&T into battle in a quadrangular tournament at Queen's Park Oval, starting Thursday, in the absence of usual skipper, wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin, who along with a number of T&T's frontline players—including Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul, Samuel Badree and Darren Bravo—are in camp in Barbados ahead of the West Indies' departure for the World T20, starting September 18.
The other T&T players at the camp, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Sunil Narine will play for their IPL clubs, Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders.
The absence of those players may also be a benefit to coach David Williams, with some younger players getting a chance to prove their worth.
"[Things are going] so far so good," Williams told the Express yesterday. "We're short of a few guys who are going with the West Indies team. But it is an opportunity for the other guys to step to the plate. We still have a strong team, (and) I expect a good showing from the guys. We have tough opposition but we're full of confidence."
The former West Indies wicket-keeper has described this weekend's tournament—which will also feature Barbados, Afghanistan and Bangladesh—as the "ideal competition" for his team.
T&T face Afghanistan in their opener on Thursday. T&T lost to the Afghans last year in a similar tournament in Canada, and Williams said his team will not take them for granted again.
"Maybe we did underestimate them just a bit, simply because we knew nothing about them," Williams said. "We're fully aware of their strengths and their weaknesses. They have grown from strength to strength but we are pretty confident whatever we put on the park, we will be able to [deal with] whatever they throw at us."
Of concern to Williams however, is T&T's performance in the middle overs. But he has seen improvement in that area in the recent Twenty20 for 50 tournament—featuring Jamaica and Brian Lara and Daren Ganga All Star teams.
Williams is confident in Emrit's ability to lead T&T, and believes the team will support the all-rounder as well.
"We're backing him to get the team over the line," said Williams. "Rayad is capable of handling himself, the guys rally around him. They know what to expect, and what they have to do. It's all about supporting Rayad and making sure we get the right result."
Also in the frame is former T&T captain Daren Ganga, who is battling for a place in the Champions League squad. Williams has not ruled out Ganga's return to the national team.
"Daren's been trying. It's Daren. He's been working, doing his bit, he made a few runs in trial matches, but the best 15 will go," he pointed out. "If Daren has done his best and he is there, then so be it."