Talented 17-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Nicholas Pooran has forced his way in the Trinidad and Tobago Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) squad after creating a buzz with his big hitting in the recently concluded Limacol Caribbean Premier League T20.
The T&T squad that will travel India next month for the September 17 to October 6 tournament, was announced yesterday in a CLT20 media release.
Pooran, who was drafted into the T&T Red Steel franchise for the inaugural CPLT20, slammed 54 off 24 balls with six sixes and one four to draw the attention of the commentators during his first match in the tournament against the Guyana Amazon Warriors.
The teenager was unable to replicate that type of hitting in the remainder of the tournament with his next best innings being an unbeaten 20 off 15 balls with two fours and a six against the Jamaica Tallawahs.
But the T&T selectors, chaired by Dudnath Ramkessoon would have recognised the youngster’s talent before his exploits in the CPLT20.
“Pooran has been on fire this year. He played for Trinidad and Tobago earlier this year in the Regional Super50 tournament and then he played for the CPL team scoring a brilliant 50 in his first game.
“He needs to be more consistent and produce good scores consistently but we recognised that he had tremendous talent and he is definitely a player for the future,” Ramkessoon said of Pooran.
It is still unclear what role Pooran will play if he makes the starting XI for the Champions League T20, with skipper Denesh Ramdin expected to assume duties behind the stumps.
Speaking about the T&T squad, Ramkessoon described it as talented, well rounded and experienced.
The squad includes spinners Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree, fast-bowler Ravi Rampaul, opening batsmen Lendl Simmons and Adrian Barath and stylish middle order batsman Darren Bravo with Ramdin as captain and keeper.
“It is a fairly strong team and the best team available to represent Trinidad and Tobago at this point in time,” Ramkessoon said of the selections.
A CLT20 media release noted that Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Kevon Cooper chose to represent their respective Indian Premier League franchises—Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals—in the Champions League tournament, which bowls off on September 17.
Speaking about the experience in the squad, Ramkessoon noted that fast-bowling all-rounder Navin Stewart, who was part of the T&T squad for the inaugural Champions League, is back in the team and that the all-rounder has shown improvement in his batting and bowling this year, evidenced by his good season with his club Moosai Sports on the domestic circuit.
“We also have Jason (Mohammed) who has been a regular member of the team. He did not get picked for a CPL (Caribbean Premier League) team which I thought he should have been, but he has the experience and ability and we wait for him to deliver at this level.
“Sherwin Ganga, young Yannick Ottley, (Nicholas) Pooran; we have some players who can deliver. We have a very capable team and they have been doing well,” Ramkessoon added.
The chairman of selectors also feels that the inclusion of Rampaul and Narine will boost the strength of the team and also give the other members of the squad added confidence.
Speaking about the absence of successful PowerGen opening batsman Nicholas Sookdeosingh from the squad, Ramkessoon said the batsman just missed out on a place in the team but insisted that the decision to leave him out of the squad did not mean that he was not in their plans.
“A few people came close to selection. He is in the squad in Guyana (and) will be in the team going to Dominica. He has not been totally overlooked. The majority of players selected themselves and while a few picks came up for discussion, we believe this is the best combination at this time,” he added.
T&T Champions League squad:
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).
Other CLT20 squads:
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar, Dinesh Karthik, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Ambati Rayudu, Aditya Tare, Rishi Dhawan, Abu Nechim, Akshar Patel, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Smith, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mitchell Johnson, Glenn Maxwell
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, M Vijay, Wriddhiman Saha, R Ashwin, S Badrinath, Imtiaz Ahmed, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohit Sharma, Michael Hussey, Dwayne Bravo, Albie Morkel, Jason Holder, Faf du Plessis, Chris Morris
Rajasthan Royals: Rahul Dravid, Ajinkya Rahane, Stuart Binny, Sanju Samson, Ashok Menaria, Dishant Yagnik, Vikramjeet Malik, Rahul Shukla, Pravin Tambe, Siddharth Trivedi, Shane Watson, Brad Hodge, James Faulkner, Kevon Cooper, Shaun Tait
Brisbane Heat: Joe Burns, Daniel Christian, Ben Cutting, Peter Forrest, Dom Michael, Chris Hartley, Nathan Hauritz, James Hopes, Matthew Gale, Chris Lynn, Alister McDermott, Cameron Gannon, Alex Kemp, Kemar Roach, Chris Sabburg
Perth Scorchers: Ashton Agar, Michael Beer, Jason Behrendorff, Ashton Turner, Liam Davis, Brad Hogg, Burt Cockley, Simon Katich, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Joel Paris, Alfonso Thomas, Tom Triffitt, Adam Voges, Sam Whiteman
Titans: Jacques Rudolph, Henry Davids, AB de Villiers, Farhaan Behardien, Heino Kuhn, David Wiese, Eden Links, Ethy Mbhalati, Rowan Richards, Mangaliso Mosehle, CJ de Villiers, Graeme van Buuren, Morne Morkel, Roelof van der Merwe, Marchant de Lange
Highveld Lions: Temba Bavuma, Gulam Bodi, Quinton De Kock, Neil McKenzie, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Ethan O’Reilly, Hardus Viljoen, Rassie van der Dussen, Alviro Petersen, Aaron Phangiso, Dwaine Pretorius, Jean Symes, Imran Tahir, Sohail Tanvir, Thami Tsolekile
Faisalabad Wolves: Misbah-ul-Haq, Asif Ali, Ali Waqas, Khurram Shehzad, Mohammad Salman, Waqas Maqsood, Samiullah Khan, Asad Ali, Saeed Ajmal, Ehsan Adil, Hasan Mahmood, Jahandad Khan, Farrukh Shehzad, Imran Khalid, Ammar Mahmood
Otago Volts: Nick Beard, Michael Bracewell, Neil Broom, Iain Butler, Mark Craig, Derek de Boorder, Jacob Duffy, Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum, James McMillan, Jimmy Neesham, Aaron Redmond, Hamish Rutherford, Ryan ten Doeschate, Neil Wagner
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Shikhar Dhawan, Parthiv Patel, Cameron White, JP Duminy, Dale Steyn, Darren Sammy, Biplab Samantray, Thisara Perera, Karan Sharma, Hanuma Vihari, Ashish Reddy, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Anand Rajan, TBC
Kandurata Maroons: Lahiru Thirimanne, Nuwan Kulasekara, Upul Tharanga, Thilina Kandamby, Kumar Sangakkara, Shehan Jayasuriya, Chamara Silva, Milinda Siriwardana, Dilhara Lokuhettige, Dhammika Prasad, Ajantha Mendis, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Lahiru Jayaratne, Dhananjaya De Silva, Suraj Randiv