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Last warm-up for Red Force ahead of CLT20 opener

By Roger Seepersad

After two days of travel and a couple of practice sessions, Trinidad and Tobago finally take the field today for their only Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) warm-up match before they face Brisbane Heat in their opening Group B match tomorrow.

Today’s warm-up match at Ranchi will be crucial for the Red Force, who will be using the opportunity to get used to the conditions after a long journey from the Caribbean.

T&T left Trinidad on Monday and arrived in India on Wednesday, but rain in Ranchi kept the players indoors over the last few days. They finally got a chance to train outdoors yesterday, sharing the field at Ranchi with Dwayne Bravo’s Chennai Super Kings yesterday.

Bravo even met with the T&T team during their training session.

T&T take the field today against a local side, with some of Red Force players playing with the local team so that the full 15-man contingent will get a run in the middle.

Before leaving for India, T&T played five practice matches, the last being at the National Cricket Centre in Balmain, Couva in Trinidad on September 12 with many of the players doing well including skipper Denesh Ramdin openers Adrian Barath and Evin Lewis and middle order batsmen Jason Mohammed and Darren Bravo.

Key batsman Lendl Simmons sat out most of the practice matches, while pacer Ravi Rampaul was used sparingly after recovering from an ankle injury, which kept him out of the Limacol Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20.

Today’s encounter will be a test for Rampaul and Simmons, as well as the rest of the team, who will be keen on impressing in what will be their final appearance as Team Red Force in the CLT20.

From next year, the winners of the Caribbean Premier League will represent the West Indies in the CLT20.

The T&T skipper is confident his team can do well in the tournament, and warned their opponents that lesser known players in the side can be dangerous as well.

“We have Rayad Emrit, who has been doing well for himself in the domestic T20 tournaments back home; Shannon Gabriel, who has been bowling really fast and done well in the past; Sherwin Ganga, who has been around for a while and he will be one of our guys to step up. And in our batting department, we have young and exciting talent in the form of Nicholas Pooran, who is just 17 years of age and everyone is looking forward to seeing what he can offer,” Ramdin said.

T&T is also gaining confidence from batting legend Brian Lara, who travelled to India with the team as the Ministry of Tourism’s Sport Ambassador.

“It is great to have the likes of Brian Lara around in the dressing room. He comes around and has a good chat with the guys during the practice sessions and shares his knowledge of the game how much ever he can. He also gives us the confidence to go out there and do well,” the T&T skipper added.


SQUAD


T&T: Denesh Ramdin (Captain), Rayad Emrit, Jason Mohammed, Nicholas Pooran, Sunil Narine, Evin Lewis, Samuel Badree, Navin Stewart, Shannon Gabriel, Yannick Ottley, Adrian Barath, Sherwin Ganga, Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul, Darren Bravo; David Williams (coach), Omar Khan (manager). 

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