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Khan wants fighting spirit from T&T players

By Kern De Freitas Sensible cricket

That's what Trinidad and Tobago manager Omar Khan wants from the senior national cricketers against the Windward Islands today in T&T's first Regional Super50 Tournament outing at Arnos Vale in St Vincent from 10 a.m.

The hosts have already one-upped T&T with a humbling ten-wicket whipping at the same venue in the four-day tournament on Sunday, with a day-and-a-half to spare. T&T were dismissed in their two innings for 179 and 86.

For the T&T manager, today's match has taken on even more significance for the visiting team.

"(The match is) even more important," Khan told the Express yesterday. "(The players mush show) a sensible approach to how we go about doing things. Take it one step at a time; (in the four-day match) we started to get carried away. Most of the batsmen got starts and didn't carry on. Whoever gets a start, they have to carry on and get runs (for the team)."

Khan also singled out the senior players in the squad, particularly in the absence of T&T's West Indies players for the match, including skipper/wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin as well as all-rounder Kevon Cooper, who competed in Tuesday's Bangladesh Premier League final for Chittagong Kings in a losing cause against Kieron Pollard's Dhaka Gladiators.

He says the team have put the four-day debacle behind them, and is looking at it as a "one-off" capitulation.

We have to focus on the positives and try to establish with the guys that they are professional cricketers who have represented T&T at that level not (for) the first time. The senior guys have to take responsibility. (Top order batsmen Adrian) Barath, (Lendl) Simmons, (Justin) Guillen, they all have six to seven years' experience, so they have to take responsibility in terms of batting."

The bowling outfit of Samuel Badree, Ravi Rampaul, Shannon Gabriel and stand-in skipper Rayad Emrit, Khan said, is impressive, and he stressed that the batsmen need to back them up if T&T are to win.

The former West Indies manager also said the T&T technical team will be putting more emphasis on "visual impact" in order to reinforce the players' appreciation for application at the crease, and their need to assess the match situation.

He called on them to play with "intelligence".

As for the younger players—including wicketkeeper Nicholas Pooran, as well as the Ottley brothers Yannick and Kjorn —Khan feels getting an opportunity at the senior T&T level should be enough for them to step in and perform in the absence of more experienced players.

"They need to look at it as the opportunity that they are getting to represent their country. They should grab it with both hands and make full use of it. The opportunities are few and far apart, and the (un)availability of players from the West Indies team. (It's their) chance to stake a claim."

More than that, Khan wants a fighting spirit from the T&T players.

"As soon as they hit the park," he said, "they've got to show that intensity, they've go to show that commitment, support one another gel together well and help one another."

T&T squad: Rayad Emrit (Captain), Adrian Barath, Justin Guillen, Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Jason Mohammed, Yannick Ottley, Kjorn Ottley, Nicholas Pooran, Ravi Rampaul, Shannon Gabriel, Samuel Badree, Yannick Cariah.

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