Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Coach Williams wants more fight

T&T leave for Super50 semi-final


Century against CCC: Jason Mohammed —Photo courtesy WICB Media

Mark Fraser

Trinidad and Tobago coach David Williams is urging his players to regain their fighting spirit in four-day cricket ahead of their regional four-day semi-final against Jamaica early next month.

This after the national team folded against Barbados in two days at Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain in their final preliminary round match last week.

T&T were dismissed for 109 and 129 against the Bajans who went on to win by ten wickets, booking their place in the semi-final of the tournament as the third-place team.

Asked what changes, if any, were needed for the national team to turn things around before their semi-final against defending champions Jamaica, Williams, who is also the technical director of the T&T Cricket Board said: “We may think about strengthening the batting a bit but you can play nine batsmen but if the guys don’t apply themselves and do what is necessary, you will still get low scores.

“We got to find our commitment back and play the cricket we that we know how to play because we have some talented players in the side.

“We have some senior guys and guys with a lot of experience and those are the guys that you expect to carry the team and if that is not happening, you would not expect the younger guys to do as well.

“It is a situation where the (senior) guys have to take the responsibility. It is sad what has happened but we have to pick ourselves up and get ourselves ready for the semi-final,” the coach added.

Questioned about T&T’s slump at the end of the season after back-to-back losses to Jamaica and Barbados, the coach said “this one was the worst”, referring to the latter.

“The batsmen again failed to come to terms with the pitch. I don’t think the pitch was a 109 or 129 pitch. I think it was maybe a 250 pitch. We just did not apply ourselves and when you get bowled for 109 you are always behind the eight-ball and it is difficult to come back from there.

“It was three bad performances--against the Windwards, Jamaica and now Barbados,” Williams added. “But the good thing is that we are still in the semi-finals. We now have to go back to drawing board and prepare for the semi-final against Jamaica.”

About T&T’s shortcomings in the four-day arena over the years, the T&T coach said: “It is a trend and it has been happening for some time.

“We have tried all different things to try and rectify that, but we feel that with the number of senior guys in our squad, we should be able to deal with those kinds of calamities.

“It is hard to put your finger on one thing to explain why this keeps happening but prior to this game and the Jamaica game, we had three decent games against the Leeward Islands the Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) and Guyana.

“We batted well...guys were in decent form. Jason Mohammed got a hundred, Lendl Simmons had a decent score and Adrian Barath got a 50 so it is hard to put your finger on the cause of that decline from playing three good games and then playing two bad ones.

“It is something we have to continue to work on and try and get rid of and it will take some time and hopefully we can get it right for the semi-final and final,” Williams explained.

Asked what he felt was the reason behind T&T’s failure in the four-day competition the coach said: “We play the shorter version extremely well.

“We have won all games in the Caribbean Twenty20 and in the Super50 and then when you come to longer version, it could be more of a mental aspect to deal with and that can take time.”

While he agreed that mental sessions can help, he insisted, “it is a long-term thing.

“It is not a one-off thing where you play bad today, you bring a guy in and expect that will fix the problem.

“It is not just T&T. You also have Guyana (and) Barbados making low scores. It is a trend with all the Caribbean teams. We need to play more four-day cricket,” Williams added.

However, T&T’s four-day woes will be on the back burner at least this week with the national team taking on CCC in the Super50 semi-finals at Kensington Oval, Barbados on Thursday.

T&T leave for Barbados today.