Sunday, December 17, 2017

T&T, Barbados the favourites


Mark Fraser

Today the Express concludes its profiles of teams in the NAGICO Super50 series which begins this afternoon at the Queen’s Park Oval with a look at teams in Group B.

Trinidad and Tobago

Fielding one of the strongest teams in the tournament, the 2008 and 2009 champions should be one of the favourites to lift the Clive Lloyd Trophy.

But having some of the best players around does not guarantee silverware. Last year T&T were missing some of their big guns but still won all six round robin matches before a spineless showing in the semi-final against the Combine Campuses and Colleges saw them crash out.

New leadership in Dwayne Bravo could be the injection T&T needs to rediscover their fighting spirit and the inclusion of Ravi Rampaul, Sunil Narine, Darren Bravo and Kevon Cooper, who were all absent for last year’s semi-final loss will be a plus.

But exciting left-hander Evin Lewis could steal the spotlight.

His presence was felt in the Champions League T20 tournament last year as he finished fourth on the batting charts, and with the Super50 being broadcast live on ESPN, it will be another opportunity for him to remind the world of his talent.

T&T squad: Dwayne Bravo (captain), Adrian Barath, Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Darren Bravo, Jason Mohammed, Denesh Ramdin (wicket-keeper), Rayad Emrit, Sunil Narine, Ravi Rampaul, Imran Khan, Yannick Ottley, Shannon Gabriel, Kevon Cooper; Kelvin Williams (coach), Manohar Ramsaran (manager).


Kevin Stoute takes over the captaincy from Kirk Edwards, but the Barbadian side remains mostly unchanged from the one that missed out on a place in ast year’s semi-finals.

The addition of Fidel Edwards, Tino Best and Jason Holder should strengthen their bowling, while Dwayne Smith is sure to be explosive with the bat.

The combination could be lethal and will make for a mouth-watering clash against hosts T&T on Sunday at the Queen’s Park Oval in what has been described as a must-win match for both teams.

The former skipper Edwards is also likely to play a key role with the bat after some good performances for the West Indies and West Indies A in recent 50 over matches.

His most recent 50 over innings was an unbeaten 123 against New Zealand. If he can maintain that form, then the other Zone B teams could find themselves in all kinds of trouble.

BARBADOS: Kevin Stoute (captain), Sulieman Benn, Tino Best, Rashidi Boucher, Carlos Brathwaite, Kraigg Brathwaite, Jonathan Carter, Shane Dowrich (wicket-keeper), Fidel Edwards, Kirk Edwards, Jason Holder, Ashley Nurse, Dwayne Smith, Kenroy Williams; Hendy Springer (coach).

Leeward Islands

Since their 2010 triumph, the Leewards have had little success in the 50-over arena.

However they cannot be counted out because once in a while they deliver the unexpected.

The 2010 tie against Barbados in the 50-over final and then their upset victory over the Bajans in last year’s tournament prove that the Leewards can compete with the best.

They were winless in the 2011 competition and were again at the bottom of the standings last year however.

The appointment of 23-year-old Kieran Powell as captain could inspire the team to do better this year.

The experience of leg-spinner Anthony Martin, all-rounder Justin Athanaze, and fast bowlers Gavin Tonge and Lionel Baker—who were all members of the victorious 2010 team--could see them cause some more upsets with sufficient determination.

They face the Combined Campuses and Colleges in the opening match of Zone B on Saturday at the Oval.

LEEWARD ISLANDS: Kieran Powell (captain), Devon Thomas (vice captain/wicket-keeper), Justin Athanaze, Lionel Baker, Quinton Boatswain, Rahkeem Cornwall, Jahmar Hamilton, Montcin Hodge, Sylvester Joseph, Anthony Martin, Mali Richards, Gavin Tonge, Hayden Walsh Jr, Kelbert Walters. Head Coach: Ridley Jacobs.

Combined Campuses and Colleges

The team better known as CCC or “The Students” surprised many, including T&T en route to last year’s final.

Their squad is almost identical to last year’s except for the appointment of Guyanese all-rounder Steven Jacobs as skipper.

The hard-hitting middle order batsman and deceptive off-spinner took over the captaincy from Kyle Corbin and will be looking to improve his credentials as a leader.

There are four Jamaicans, six Bajans, one Trinidad and Tobago player and two Windward Islanders in the CCC lineup, and despite reaching last year’s final, “The Students” will again start this year’s competition as underdogs.

One thing is certain though, the CCC squad will have the respect of fellow Zone B team Barbados and T&T, having beaten both in last year’s tournament.

CCC: Steven Jacobs (captain), Anthony Alleyne, Ryan Austin, Kyle Corbin, Akeem Dewar, Kavem Hodge, Kyle Mayers, Kristopher Ramsaran, Wayne Morgan, Shacaya Thomas, Raymon Reifer, Chadwick Walton (wicket-keeper), Kesrick Williams, Floyd Reifer (player/coach).