T&T aim for good start
A lot has been made of the fact that Trinidad and Tobago will play their final Karbonn Smart Champions League T20 (CLT20) campaign as a team in the 2013 edition, and their need to go out on a high.
But today, from 6.30 a.m. at Ranchi, Denesh Ramdin’s men have to put behind them all the talk of a last hurrah, the absence of allrounders Kieron Pollard, Kevon Cooper and Dwayne Bravo—who have opted to play for their IPL sides, Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings—the fitness of Ravi Rampaul and the lack of a true finisher.
They face Brisbane Heat of Australia first up, a side where the standout names are Barbados/West Indies pacer Kemar Roach and off-spinner Nathan Hauritz who last played for Australia in 2011 in an ODI. All-rounder James Hopes is the skipper, while Peter Forrest and Daniel Christian and Ben Cutting all have senior Australia international experience.
The bulk of the T&T squad have either West Indies, Indian Premier League and/or Champions League experience, and the rest are typically audacious youngsters.
A good start is crucial for T&T in a tough Group B, which also includes Darren Sammy’s Hyderabad Sunrisers of the IPL, South Africa’s Titans and Dwayne Bravo’s Chennai Super Kings.
With a bowling lineup featuring World No. 1 T20 bowler Sunil Narine, the economy of leg-spinner Samuel Badree the deceptive medium pace of Rayad Emrit and the quicker bowling of Ravi Rampaul and Shannon Gabriel, T&T will no doubt rely heavily on their bowlers.
The batting, though loaded with talent, is not as consistent, and how far T&T reach in the tournament will be determined by how their batsmen fare. Thus, captain Denesh Ramdin will be counting on the style of Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons’ consistency and pace of scoring, and the experience of Adrian Barath and Jason Mohammed.
The younger players like Nicholas Pooran, Evin Lewis and Yannick Ottley will have to adapt quickly and contribute with the bat if T&T are to make it to the latter stages of CPLT20 2013.
Yesterday, T&T were scheduled to play a warm-up encounter against a mixed local side in Ranchi, but rain, as it has done for the latter part of the week, thwarted the “Red Force’s” attempts to get in much-needed match practice ahead of their opening match.
Emrit, though, feels their preparations before the team departed for India will serve T&T well today.
“The rain has affected us a bit—we’ve lost a couple of days’ practice,” he said. “But it’s okay because before coming to India we had decent preparation. So, it’s not all that bad. We have to look at what we have. We are all professionals out there and we prepared well.”
Emrit confirmed that Rampaul is “fit and raring to go” for the match, and added that T&T want to be successful in their last Champions League tournament as the Red Force.
“There’s no pressure on (the experienced players) to perform,” he related. “In fact, since they have played so much IPL, this is nothing new to them,” Emrit said. “This is our last time as a country and we want to make it count. It’s going to be big for us.
“We have around six or seven guys in our team who have played in India before, and they will be our key contributors.”
Trinidad & Tobago: Denesh Ramdin (capt & wk), Adrian Barath, Sunil Narine, Lendl Simmons, Rayad Emrit, Sherwin Ganga, Jason Mohammed, Yannick Ottley, Ravi Rampaul, Navin Stewart, Samuel Badree, Darren Bravo, Shannon Gabriel, Evin Levis, Nicholas Pooran.
Brisbane Heat: James Hopes (capt), Daniel Christian, Peter Forrest, Cameron Gannon, Nathan Hauritz, Chris Lynn, Dom Michael, Chris Sabburg, Joe Burns, Ben Cutting, Mathew Gale, Chris Hartley, Alex Kemp, Alister McDermott, Kemar Roach.