Tuesday, January 23, 2018

T&T coach expects tougher battles

Trinidad and Tobago coach Kelvin Williams is expecting tougher battles in the Regional Four-Day Championships, and wants his players to stay focused as they head to Barbados to face the defending champions. 

The Rayad Emrit-led side have won their first two games in the competition–beating the Windward Islands by 186 runs and the Leeward Islands by an innings and 107 runs--and are second on the standings with 34 points, one point behind leaders Jamaica.

However, after a good start to the season, Williams says that every game from now will be even more challenging.

The T&T contingent left for Barbados yesterday ahead of their clash with the defending champions, which bowls off on Friday. Despite their recent poor record against the Bajans, Williams is confident his players will deliver this time around.

The last time the two sides met in four-day cricket was in the 2013 final at Kensington Oval when Barbados won by an innings and 22 runs on the third day. Before that, the Bajans got the better of T&T at Queen’s Park Oval, winning by ten wickets in the round robin phase of the tournament.

In the 2012 competition, Barbados battled back from a first innings deficit to beat T&T in the round robin phase before whipping T&T again in the semifinals.

T&T were also beaten by Barbados in the NAGICO Super50 final and also in the group stage of that competition, earlier this year in Trinidad.

“I think every match is going to be a challenge from now on and the guys know that. Going to Barbados to face Barbados is always a difficult game but I think once we plan well, prepare well and execute, I think there is no problem,” said Williams.

He said his team can get the better of the Bajans, and pointed out that in 2012 T&T won first innings points against Barbados but subsequently lost outright after a poor batting performance in their second innings.

“I don’t want us to go there and get beaten. The batsmen have to be mindful of what to expect in Barbados because you know they are going to come at us with the short ball because they think we as Trinidadians can’t play short pitched bowling so we will be preparing for that,” the T&T coach explained.

T&T put up 458 for seven declared in their first innings against the Leeward Islands and then dismissed the visitors twice--for 113 and 238--on a flat Queen’s Park Oval pitch.

Williams was full of praise for the two youngest members of the team, Steven Katwaroo and Akeal Hosein who shared a 197-run stand for the seventh wicket, with Hosein hitting his maiden first class century and Katwaroo falling nine runs short of the milestone.

“Over the years, I think this is the first time I have seen two young batsmen bat for two sessions for T&T so that says our cricket is in good stead,” said Williams.

“Unfortunately we are losing Akeal to a thigh injury and he was just starting to play well, both batting and bowling.”

Williams was pleased with the T&T bowling.

“There was always going to be pressure on the bowlers. The wicket was getting better and better and I thought yesterday (Sunday) was a fantastic day for us, especially when we captured the last wicket that give us a little more confidence to come and finish the job.

“I must also praise Rayad Emrit for the way he handled the team. He is doing a fantastic job.”

Regional Four-Day Standings

Pts M W L D Bat Bowl

1. Jamaica 35 2 2 0 0 6 5

2. T&T 34 2 2 0 0 4 6

3. Windwards 29 3 1 1 1 4 9

4. Barbados 27 3 1 1 1 3 9

5. Leewards 22 3 1 2 0 2 8

6. Guyana 13 3 0 2 1 1 9

7. CCC 10 2 0 1 1 3 4

Abbreviations: Pts–total points, M–matches, W–won, 

L–lost, D–drawn, Bat–batting points, Bowl–bowling points