Trinidad and Tobago may be missing nine of their frontline and experienced players, but to captain Rayad Emrit, that is no excuse for the poor performances in their 192-run loss to Jamaica yesterday in the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Regional Four-Day Tournament at Queen's Park Oval.
Emrit does not feel the team that lost to Jamaica, which featured a four-day debutant and a number of fringe players, is a weakened squad.
"People keep saying this is a depleted Trinidad and Tobago team," Emrit told the media after the loss. "I don't think so. I think the guys are good players, they have played in this tournament before, and I think they are capable of doing the job. It's just for them to get the confidence back and go out there and do the job for T&T. The only way they can do that is by spending time at the crease and making big scores."
Emrit admitted that T&T's batting has been poor this season, and lamented over the team's lack of "application" yesterday.
"We haven't been getting scores consistently over 300, so I thought the extra batting in this game would have been useful to us. They have probably the strongest team in the competition thus far. Obviously it didn't work out in this game," the all-rounder said.
A difficult target of 305 was not impossible, the T&T skipper insisted. But his team will have to look again at their batting approach, he explained.
"The batters need to work. It's first-class cricket, not club cricket. Getting 143 is not really cutting it at this stage. They have to go back to the drawing board and do the hard work."
T&T are third in the standings behind the perfect Jamaicans and Guyana, but Emrit feels his team can still qualify for the semi-finals of the tournament.
"We're not out of it, we've still got two games to go," he stated. "As long as we get good results in the last two games I know we can qualify for the semi-finals. We're definitely going to qualify, we just have to go out there and do the work."
Jamaica captain Tamar Lambert felt his team deserved victory after "four days of good cricket", but said T&T were still in the match at the start of play. It took patience from his team to make inroads into the hosts' batting line up after T&T reached 59 without loss. He felt T&T lost their patience, and therefore any shot of winning the match.
"Looking at the game," said Lambert, "I think (T&T) could (have been) a little more positive. Watching the innings that Carlton (Baugh Jr) played, it's a wicket that you're never really in (on) so you have to really back yourself.
"I thought that the innings Carlton played," he continued, "I think they could have learned something from that just to be positive, but you're just going to get a ball where you're going to get out and you can't really do anything about it."
–Kern De Freitas