Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) first vice-president and chairman of selectors Dudnath Ramkessoon is pleased with the form of young batsmen Nicholas Pooran and Evin Lewis ahead of T&T’s upcoming 2013 Champions League T20 campaign in India later this month.
Lewis led T&T’s reply with a knock of 54 in a losing cause, as the “Red Force” failed to chase a target of 145 against hosts Guyana in their second warm-up match on Saturday night. Guyana won by eight runs to share the two-match series, after T&T won the first encounter by 15 runs a day earlier.
Guyana posted 144 for six off their 10 overs, with a top score of 60 from Richard Bacchus, while big-hitter Christopher Barnwell slammed 42. Rayad Emrit was for the second day in a row T&T’s best bowler, this time taking two for 23.
Lewis’s 54 and Sherwin Ganga’s 28 got T&T close, but their overs finished with the T&T total on 136 for seven. Jamaican left-arm medium pacer Krishmar Santokie—four for 35—was the best bowler for Guyana.
Speaking to the Express yesterday, Ramkessoon said the young pair were difficult to ignore on the back of their recent performances.
“We have a number of young players and we believe they have the ability to push on,” the former T&T opener said. “Evin has showed it in the domestic and regional level. Pooran impressed everyone with the (24-ball) innings (of 54) he played (in the Caribbean Premier League). He’s young and still learning his trade, and we expect him to go from strength to strength.”
According to Ramkessoon, T&T have experience in all departments, with several players having CPL, Champions League and IPL experience, including openers Adrian Barath and Lendl Simmons, Darren Bravo and all-rounder Sherwin Ganga.
He is also encouraged by the bowling, spearheaded by pacer Ravi Rampaul—who is making a return from injury—with leg-spinner Samuel Badree and mystery spinner Sunil Narine giving a much-needed boost.
Although T&T have lacked a death-overs hitter to replace Kieron Pollard—he will represent IPL champs Mumbai Indians in the Champions League—Ramkessoon thinks there are still players who can lift the scoring rate, including skipper Denesh Ramdin, hard-hitting all-rounder Navin Stewart, and of course, Pooran.
“They will have to (adjust the batting order) with that in mind, knowing you have some players, how you do it at the top. They will have to set goals, ensure when they come to the end…You don’t have to hit everything for six, but if you play smart you can get runs.
“Pooran has been very effective,” he said, “Stewart has played down the order, Sunil Narine can strike the ball over the boundary. So you have some players down there.”
T&T will next travel to Dominica on Thursday, where they will engage Windward Islands in practice matches on Friday and Saturday, before returning home to fine tune with some local practice matches.
T&T will leave for India and the Champions League on September 16. The tournament bowls off a day later with the qualifying matches, with the final set for October 6.
T&T are automatic qualifiers in Group B. They open their campaign on September 22 against Brisbane Heat.