Thursday, February 22, 2018

Emrit to skipper T&T vs Jamaica

Rayad Emrit will captain Trinidad and Tobago for their fifth round Regional Four-Day Tournament match against defending champions Jamaica at Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain, starting on Friday.

Emrit will take over from regular skipper Denesh Ramdin, who was among five T&T players named on the West Indies limited overs team to face Australia later this month.

The other four T&T players in the regional squad are Darren Bravo, Sunil Narine, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard.

Also missing from the Trinidad and Tobago line-up is former captain Daren Ganga, who is attending his graduation ceremony as a lawyer in England.

And Lendl Simmons, Adrian Barath and Ravi Rampaul are unavailable due to injuries.

The 13-man national squad named yesterday includes four newcomers--spinner Kavesh Kantasingh, all-rounder Kevon Cooper, batsman Marlon Barclay and fast bowler Teshawn Castro—and at least one of them will make their first class debut for T&T against the Jamaicans.

Kantasingh, who played 31 first class matches for Combined Campuses and Colleges, is the most experienced of the quartet and should be first in line to replace top spinner Narine, who is the leading wicket-taker in the competition.

The left-arm orthodox spinner has never represented T&T in first class cricket.

Cooper also has a wealth of experience having played five 50-over matches for T&T and 30 Twenty20 games, but he is yet to make his first class debut.

Chairman of T&T selectors Dudnath Ramkessoon said that although Trinidad and Tobago were without the majority of their senior players, he was still happy with the team and expects them to give Jamaica a fight.

“I think that based on what has transpired we feel comfortable with the team that we have selected to represent T&T and I think the combination is the best we could come up with at this point in time.”

In terms of an update on Trinidad and Tobago’s injured players, Ramkessoon said: “Barath is still injured and we will do an assessment in ten days’ time. Rampaul is still not 100 per cent fit to play for T&T. He has not fully recovered and Simmons is still recovering (from a fractured finger) and we have a few players on the West Indies team.

“So, based on the availability of the players, I think this is the best team we have and this is an opportunity of the fringe players to really prove themselves and I feel they will give a good account of themselves and give Jamaica a good challenge,” Ramkessoon added.

The T&T selectors also recalled Aneil Kanhai and Sherwin Ganga to the four-day team and both players should provide some experience to the batting line-up in the absence of the senior players.

Neither has been selected on the four-day team since last season.

Ganga played six matches in the tournament last year and was Trinidad and Tobago’s fourth highest run-scorer, behind Daren Ganga (620 runs), Simmons (513 runs) and Ramdin (485 runs), with 367 runs, while Kanhai only played two matches last season.

Opener Justin Guillen retains his place at the top of the batting order, while Emrit, Shannon Gabriel, Imran Khan, Emile Rajah, Jason Mohammed and Gibran Mohammed are the other players who kept their place in the 13-man squad after T&T’s win over the Windward Islands in the previous round of the competition.

Trinidad and Tobago’s players will have a practice session today at the National Cricket Centre, Balmain, Couva from 9 a.m. to noon and will have their final session tomorrow at Queen’s Park Oval, also from 9 a.m. to noon.

T&T Squad:

Rayad Emrit (captain), Justin Guillen, Imran Khan, Marlon Barclay, Jason Mohammed, Aneil Kanhai, Gibran Mohammed, Emile Rajah, Kavesh Kantasingh, Shannon Gabriel, Teshawn Castro, Kevon Cooper

Kelvin Williams (coach), Omar Khan (manager), Ronald Rogers (trainer), Oba Gulston (physio).