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Rampaul available for Champions League

By Roger Seepersad roger.seepersad@trinidadexpress.com

West Indies pacer Ravi Rampaul has recovered from an ankle injury, which kept him out of the inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 (CPLT20), and should be available to represent Trinidad and Tobago in the Champions League Twenty20 in India next month.

The pacer could return to action as early as this weekend when T&T travel to Guyana to play the Guyana national team in two T20 practice matches as part of their build-up for the Champions League T20, which bowls off on September 17.

Chairman of selectors Dudnath Ramkessoon confirmed that the trip to Guyana is on. He said a media release will be made to announce the squad for the two matches there.

Rampaul, who was selected on the Jamaica Tallawahs team for the inaugural CPLT20, was ruled out of the competition after sustaining an ankle injury during the Tri-Nation series featuring West Indies, India and Sri Lanka. 

Ramkessoon confirmed that Rampaul has recovered from the injury, but the chairman of selectors could not confirm if the pacer will travel to Guyana for the two matches this weekend or if he will be part of the T&T Champions League T20 squad.

Rampaul’s most recent match was on June 28, and he will need to get some match practice if he is to be part of the T&T Champions League T20 squad.

Despite being sidelined with injury, Rampaul was still invited to celebrate with the Tallawahs after they defeated Guyana in the CPLT20 final at Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain on Saturday night.

With the CPLT20 over, T&T, who were forced to put their preparations on hold after most of their players won places in the various franchises for the inaugural tournament, will reassemble this week to start their final preparations for the Champions League T20.

Their preparations will include matches against the Guyana national team at Providence on Friday and Saturday from 7 p.m. each day.

T&T qualified for the Champions League T20 for the third straight year by completing a hat-trick of Caribbean T20 titles, and they have also earned direct entry into the Group Stage this year after playing in the Qualifier in 2011 and 2012.

The Denesh Ramdin-led side are in group B along with Brisbane Heat, Chennai Super Kings, Titans and the second-ranked team from the CLT20 2013 Qualifier. 

T&T face Brisbane Heat in their first match on September 22. 

Rampaul’s recovery should be a big boost for the T&T team who will again be without the services of Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo.

Pollard will feature in the Mumbai Indians lineup while Bravo will be part of the Chennai Super Kings squad.

T&T are also without Kevon Cooper, who will line up with his IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals.

With the Kolkata Knight Riders failing to qualify for the Champions League T20, spinner Sunil Narine will be available for T&T, which will be another significant boost for Ramdin’s men.

Narine helped his IPL franchise clinch the 2012 IPL title, and was also named Player of the Tournament. 

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