The Trinidad and Tobago Under-17 cricketers will be hoping for sunshine today when they start their Regional Under-17 campaign against the Leeward Islands at Shaw Park, Tobago from 9.30 a.m.
Rain washed out the fixture between the two sides in the inaugural competition at the same venue last year and both will be hoping to avoid a repeat in 2013 as they try to get their respective campaigns off to a running start in the week-long, 50-over tournament.
The other matches today will see defending champions Jamaica taking on Barbados at Louis D’or and Guyana tackling the Windward Islands at Bon Accord.
Last year, T&T were runners-up in the tournament, winning three matches and losing one. Their other match, against Leewards, was abandoned.
The Leewards finished last in the inaugural competition, losing four matches with the T&T match being washed out.
T&T coach Dasrath Maharaj had one final training session at Shaw Park, yesterday, and was pleased with the progress his players have made on and off the field.
“They are gradually gelling as a team and they are improving,” he said.
But one thing that Maharaj believes sets his team apart from their competition is the depth of their batting.
“This team has greater depth. We have batting right down to number ten and that is a positive for us,” the coach explained.
“They are looking forward to playing cricket. They have been working hard and are eager to take the field to represent the country.
“In terms of the batting, we have the experience of (Jameel) Maniram, who was here last year, Amir Jangoo, who plays with Merry Boys, Bryan Boodram, who played with Esmeralda.
“We also have Jyd Goolie from PowerGen who I have been impressed with. Carl Vialva can occupy the crease, and I think he is a player for the future. (Clevon) Kalawan played with Clarke Road’s first team so they are all capable,” he added.
Although they do not know a lot about their opponents, Maharaj says the T&T players know what they are capable of doing, and that is what they will be
focusing on. “You don’t know what your opposition is like and who the players in the other teams are. It is really uncharted territory but you have to go in with your basic plans and assess the opposition very early.
“The guys are here and they want to play cricket. Last year we were second, and I know that once the players play to their potential, we should be able to go all the way,” the T&T coach ended.
T&T Under-17 squad
Varindra Jagrup (captain), Amir Jangoo, Carl Vialva, Jyd Goolie, Clevon Kalawan, Jameel Jeron Maniram, Shaquille McDavid, Brandon Jaggernauth, Dejourn Charles, Bryan Boodram, Afdal Khan, Jarlarnie Seales, Anderson Phillip, Amrish Rampersad.
Dasrath Maharaj (coach), Stephen Martel (manager)
(All matches bowl off at 9:30 a.m.)
T&T vs Leeward Islands, Shaw Park
Guyana vs Windward Islands,
Barbados vs Jamaica, Louis D’or