Despite their recent record against the Combined Campuses and Colleges in Regional Four-Day cricket, Trinidad and Tobago will be very wary of their “resilient” opponents when the two sides meet in the day/night fixture at Queen’s Park Oval, in Port of Spain bowling off at 3 p.m. today.
In seven first class games between the two sides, T&T have won four while the “Students” have triumphed twice with the other meeting ending in a draw.
T&T have gotten the better for CCC for the past three seasons but the home team’s skipper Rayad Emrit said the hosts cannot afford to be complacent especially after their crushing innings and 160-run defeat against the defending champions Barbados in their previous outing.
“They (CCC) have given us good run for our money in the last couple of seasons and we know what they are about,” said Emrit, who is hoping his players will learn from their thrashing against the Bajans.
“From the last game (against Barbados), we did not bat well, we did not field well and our bowling was not that great so there is room for improvement in every aspect of our game. If we have one bad game for the season, hopefully that was it and it is out of the way now,” he added.
T&T made two changes to the team that lost to Barbados, dropping all-rounders Yannic Cariah and Daron Cruickshank and picking veteran off-spinner Amit Jaggernauth and West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard, who is coming back from injury.
Jaggernauth’s previous game was more than a year ago while Pollard’s last four-day outing was around this time last year against CCC at the Oval when T&T won by nine wickets.
This time though, they will be under lights playing with the pink ball and Jaggernauth is looking forward to that challenge.
“CCC have always been a very resilient team from my experience playing against them. They have a lot of players with the hunger, players who are willing to learn and they have that fight but I think T&T have a very good team as well and once we play proper cricket and do the basics, I see no reason why we should not come out on top,” said Jaggernauth.
About the changes to the team, Emrit said the inclusion of the pair will add some much needed experience to the line-up.
“It is going to be the most experienced team (we have had) for the season so far with those two guys back. Pollard with the bat, he is very explosive and Jaggy is one of the best spinners in the Caribbean,” the skipper said of the two Queen’s Park Cricket Club players.
The match will also mark the return of Pollard to regional action, following a six-month lay-off to recover from a knee injury, which required surgery to repair.
Pollard is known for his exploits in the shortest version of the game playing for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League and for the regional side in ODI and T20 cricket but has stated that he wants to play Tests for West Indies.
He has played 24 first-class matches and has scored 1,421 runs at an average of 38.40 with three hundreds, including a top score of 174, and seven half-centuries.
The previous day/night game in Trinidad failed to bring out a big crowd but with Pollard featuring in this game, the Oval could see an influx of patrons.
CCC come into the match on the back of a seven wicket win over Guyana in a game in which Shacaya Thomas scored 174, Chadwick Walton hit 107 and spinner Ryan Austin took nine wickets.
Those types of performances will be another reason for T&T to be on their toes in the mid-table clash.
T&T: Rayad Emrit (Captain), Adrian Barath, Evin Lewis, Darren Bravo, Jason Mohammed, Jonathan Augustus, Imran Khan, Steven Katwaroo, Shannon Gabriel, Amit Jaggernauth, Kieron Pollard Ricky Jaipaul, Marlon Richards. Kelvin Williams (Coach), Manohar Ramsaran (Manager), Clinton Jeremiah (Physio), Dinesh Mahabir (Analyst).
CCC: Steven Jacobs (captain), Anthony Alleyne, Ryan Austin, Kyle Corbin, Akeem Dewar, Kavem Hodge, Jermaine Levy, Kevin McClean, Raymon Reifer, Dawayne Sealy, Shacaya Thomas, Chadwick Walton, Jomel Warrican.
Regional Four-Day STANDINGS
Teams M W L D Bat Bowl Pts
1. Barbados 4 2 1 1 7 12 46
2. Windwards 4 2 1 1 6 12 45
3. Jamaica 3 2 1 0 6 8 38
4. T&T 3 2 1 0 4 8 36
5. CCC 3 1 1 1 6 7 28
6. Leewards 3 1 2 0 2 8 22
7. Guyana 4 0 3 1 3 11 17
Abbreviations: Pts-total points, M-matches, W-won, L-lost, D-drawn,
Bat-batting points, Bowl-bowling points