Tuesday, February 20, 2018

T&T women set for regional tourney


SKIPPER: Merissa Aguilleira

Mark Fraser

Last year, Trinidad and Tobago’s women’s cricket team looked set to snatch the Regional Tournament title, only to fall at the feet of hosts Jamaica by 16 runs.

This time, with two titles up for grabs, as the Regional Tournament in Grenada will feature both 50-over and T20 competitions beginning Monday, the national team under West Indies captain Merissa Aguilleira are hoping they can bring back home both trophies.

Stafanie Taylor’s 57 not out in last year’s final helped Jamaica crawl to 101 all out, but the T&T batting lost the plot, as they were in turn skittled for 85.

They are aiming to avoid a repeat this time around, according to manager/coach Marjorie Thomas.

“What has happened, we have used our past experience to build and motivate us toward the format of our training,” Thomas told the Express, ahead of T&T’s departure tomorrow for Grenada.

“We have used that (disappointment) to assist us. All we can do is move forward. We cannot (dwell on) what happened in the past, but we will use it to our advantage. You have to use your experiences to motivate you to move on.”

Thomas is happy with how preparations have gone so far. The team participated in a live-in camp, which started last Friday and ended on Wednesday. They performed drills, worked on fine-tuning their game and played practice matches, before shifting focus to the mental aspect of the game.

The T&T coach also revealed that the players have done extra work on two key areas: transitioning from 50-over matches to T20s; and chasing totals, which proved their downfall in last year’s tournament.

“Actually the last two times we’ve lost we were chasing and we didn’t make it. We emphasised more on the chasing with our scenarios. We work hard on those things, not negating the fact we have to (work on) the other (areas as well).”

Asked what her team’s best quality is, Thomas stated: “strength in numbers”.

“You would always think your squad is excellent,” she said. “But we have some work to do. I think the squad is capable of bringing home the trophy.”

The team is a strong one, with the leadership of Aguilleira and the presence of literal spin twins Anisa and Alisa Mohammed. Apart from the captain and Anisa, allrounder Stacy-Ann King, hard-hitting Britney Cooper and opener Amanda Samaroo all have West Indies experience.

Players like Gaitri Seetahal, Kirbyin Alexander and Moosai Ladies captain Leeann Kirby have all been around the national team for some time.

In fact, the only team member not to face top competition at the national senior team level is Stephanie Ramcharan. The others have either played the regional tournament, or toured South Africa earlier this year.

Jamaica may have won the title in 2012, but Thomas is insisting she will not take any of the teams lightly in Grenada.

“All the teams, they have been practicing. Barbados won the (regional invitational) Under-19 tournament (recently hosted by T&T), so we know that Barbados is a very strong team. We cannot dismiss the strength of any of the teams. We are looking at every single team as a threat until we cross the (final) hurdle.”