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TTCB searches for solution to 4-day struggles

By Kern De Freitas

After a mixed season that has seen success only in the Twenty20 format, Trinidad and Tobago’s 2013 season will once again be placed under the microscope.

The Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) is expected to conduct a post mortem within the next two weeks to see what went wrong after batting failures denied them both the Regional Super50 and Four-Day Tournament titles.

T&T went unbeaten in the Super50 round robin section of the tournament despite some inconsistent batting, only to be embarrassed by Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) by 140 runs in the semi-finals.

And after a patchy showing the preliminary stage of the four-day competition, T&T broke Jamaica’s five-year reign with a fighting batting display in the semis, only to collapse to an innings and 22-run defeat to Barbados in the final.

Yesterday, TTCB first vice-president and chairman of selectors Dudnath Ramkessoon described getting “consistency”, in the batting as a “work in progress”.

Asked whether he was satisfied with the T&T technical team’s showing, Ramkessoon said he preferred to meet with them first and discuss the season, but told the Express that all aspects of the team’s performances will be looked at.

“We have to come up with something, analyse everything,” he said. “If you want to go forward we can’t do the same things we have been doing to be successful.”

Ramkessoon acknowledged that the absence of T20 stars such as Kieron Pollard, Ravi Rampaul, Sunil Narine and a number of other players had weakened the team, but felt T&T should have put up better showings.

“…I think we had enough talent around to play against these teams as we showed in the semi-final (against Jamaica). We believe we have something there; it’s just the consistency that is lacking. Once we get that consistency, the team will do well. You have to play with what you have.”

He saw positives in T&T missing their top players, saying that it allowed the selectors to blood new players like pacer Marlon Richards, wicketkeeper/batsmen Nicholas Pooran and Steven Katwaroo, 17-year-old opener Jeremy Solozano and all-rounder Yannick Ottley.

Some of the more experienced batsmen—such as out-of-favour West Indies opener Adrian Barath, Queen’s Park captain Justin Guillen and middle order batsman Jason Mohammed—produced some “disappointing” returns, Ramkessoon said.

“We have a number of players who will have to look at their game and reassess themselves,” he pointed out.

With the advent of the Caribbean Premier League, T&T are set to prepare for their last Champions League T20 campaign later this year. Ramkessoon feels that this will result in greater emphasis on the longer formats of the game locally.

He conceded that T&T will continue to lose players to T20 franchise tournaments due to the global financial appeal of competitions like the Indian Premier League (IPL), where at least six T&T players are currently plying their trade. Ramkessoon described it as a “good thing”, as players will be well paid for playing cricket.

What is required, he pointed out, is to look at different ways of developing players, so that there will be “sufficient quality” for the various formats.

“We have our work cut out in terms of ensuring that we have adequate stock available for us to call on to do development work with those people, to ensure we will be competitive in regional four day (cricket) and T20.

“Initially we might not win, but we have to develop them and be competitive. Once we do that all-round, that holistic development, I think we have sufficient quality around to do us proud.”

To do this, the chairman said T&T need to have year-round player development programmes that will identify and work with elite players.

“We have to identify the players from very early and do ongoing work with them and prepare them mentally,” said Ramkessoon. “What we need to do and focus on is not only the senior team, but at different levels. Development is an ongoing process, not a one-off one.” 

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