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T&T skipper Ramdin wants to end Four-Day drought

By Roger Seepersad

Denesh Ramdin's first year as Trinidad and Tobago captain did not go quite according to plan, but there is still much for him to celebrate, and to look forward to in the coming year.

The last 12 months have been an eye-opener for the West Indies wicket-keeper, as he took on the demanding role of being T&T skipper.

He had success at first, leading the team to their second successive Caribbean Twenty20 title, before they endured another failed regional four-day campaign, followed by the team's poor showing in the Champions League T20 where they crashed out in the qualifying stage.

Although T&T did not win the Regional four-day competition, the new T&T skipper posted one century and two half centuries in four regional four-day matches to emerge at this country's leading batsman.

His performances for T&T led to his eventual recall to the West Indies Test team for the tour of England, his first tour in nearly two years, where he scored an unbeaten 107 in the third Test.

"This year has been good for me," Ramdin told the Express during a recent training session. "I did well in the four-day tournament getting some runs...at the same time I had some injuries but I came back in the (Test) series against England and scored a century, and then going down to Bangladesh and scoring another century, which was another positive for me.

"It is great to be back (for the Windies) and hopefully 2013 can be a better year for me and for T&T. I will continue to work hard, not only for me, but for Trinidad and Tobago and for West Indies."

Looking ahead, the wicket-keeper/batsman wants more success for T&T and West Indies in the coming year.

"I want to help the (regional) team go from strength to strength and build on the success at the World T20 and the Test victories we had this year. The team has been doing well, and hopefully we can continue those performances next year," he said.

For T&T, Ramdin sees room for improvement.

"In terms of the four-day...a lot has been said about us not winning the four-day title. A lot of emphasis is being placed on that this year going into 2012.

"All the guys are gearing up for it. Obviously we will always lose players due to international duty, but we still have senior and younger players who can come and fill the gap and do well for Trinidad and Tobago and themselves," he added.

Ramdin is also aware that the upcoming season will be a challenging one with the Super50 and Regional Four-Day being played at the same time, and said T&T will be prepared for the tough season ahead.

"I believe it will be challenging because you have to play four days and then rest and then play a 50-over game...the guys have to be up for it."

Key to their success in stopping Jamaica's run of five straight four-day titles, Ramdin hinted, will be Team T&T's fitness.

"We have to be fitter and stronger. We have been working in the gym with (physio) Ronald Rogers, and it is very important that we go out there and play hard for this four-day tournament. All the players need to come on board," he said.

"When senior players are gone, the younger players have to step up and step up big time. It will be good having games at home as well. We have to capitalise on those games at home. Hopefully we can do that this year and come out on top," he added.

The T&T skipper is also unfazed by the criticisms of his captaincy following the team's exit in the qualifying stage of the Champions League T20 in South Africa.

"The criticisms...that has not affected me in any way. When you look back at the Champions League, we lost one game and the other was washed out, so it was a very ticklish and tricky situation losing one and then one washing out. Hopefully the format could change in time to come. You never know what could happen.

"If we win and we go back (to the Champions League T20), we would probably want to go there a week or a week-and-a-half earlier to get more preparation (in). It was very difficult in those conditions," said Ramdin.

He is looking forward to support from his teammates, with Ramdin's first focus being the Caribbean T20. After that, he wants to end T&T's four-day drought in 2013.

"We have not won that for a while now (since 2006), so it is very important that we lift that trophy.

"The first week in January, we need to start the ball rolling against Jamaica," he said.

T&T open their Caribbean T20 campaign against the Jamaicans on January 6 at Queen's Park Oval from 8 p.m., while their four-day campaign bowls off on February 15 against Windward Islands at Arnos Vale in St Vincent.

T&T then start their quest for the Regional Super50, also opposite the Windwards, at Arnos Vale on February 21.

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