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Caribbean T20 champions prepare for four-day, 50-over campaigns ROGER SEEPERSAD reports —Page 78

By Roger Seepersad roger.seepersad@trinidadexpress.com

Fresh from the excitement and euphoria of Trinidad and Tobago's Caribbean Twenty20 victory, coach David Williams is already getting down to work as the team prepares for the regional four-day and Super50 campaigns.

T&T's preparations for the four-day competition started months ago even as they were getting ready for their CT20 title defence, and the T&T coach is hoping that all of that preparation pays off when they open their four-day campaign against the Windward Islands at Arnos Vale, St Vincent on February 15.

In November last year, 40 cricketers were selected to start preparing for this year's regional competitions, and that was one of the things the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) and technical director, Williams, decided to do to ensure the "fringe" players will be ready when called on.

Williams is aware that T&T could be without some key players at various times during the season, and said they will be looking at the West Indies calendar very closely so they can "formulise the right team and select the right guys for the right situations".

"Right now we have a trial game going on and we had one last week with (Justin) Guillen making two hundreds. While the T20 team was away, Kello (Kelvin Williams) was here preparing the other guys for the four-day and 50-over tournaments, and then we have the domestic league starting this weekend so they will be ready for next month," the coach said.

Williams (David) added that while T&T enjoyed tremendous success in the Caribbean T20, the players will have to make the adjustment to four-day cricket.

"It is a completely different tournament. It is a longer game and the mindset has to change and that is something we will have to deal with over the next couple of weeks."

In addition to the mental aspect of their game, the players will have to work on fitness to be able to stand up and perform especially with new scheduling of the regional tournaments.

The Super50 will be played alongside the four-day tournament in a round-robin format, with the top four teams advancing to the semifinals and then the winners going on to the final.

Even with a few players missing at the start of the season, the T&T coach is expecting to field a strong team for their four-day opener against the Windwards.

Williams said T&T, who were semifinalists last year, will be without Dwayne and Darren Bravo, Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard, who are all on the West Indies team heading to Australia for a limited-overs tour.

"Well we have four guys going off with the West Indies so for the first game, (Denesh) Ramdin, (Lendl) Simmons and (Adrian) Barath are the senior guys who will be available and that will make us pretty strong when we come up against the Windwards. We will have those players ready and hopefully we can get our campaign off to a good start.

"In the past we have had top players missing throughout the season so now we are making sure the fringe players are getting the preparation they need so they will be ready."

Asked what T&T needed to do to win the four-day competition, Williams said: "We got to come together and play as a team. However, we don't know what team and which players will be available as the season goes on."

Asked about fast bowler Ravi Rampaul's recovery from injury, the coach said he expected an update late yesterday. Rampaul missed T&T's successful Caribbean T20 campaign with a knee injury, but is expected to resume training soon.

T&T training squad:

Denesh Ramdin, Jeremy Solozano, Amit Jaggernauth, Navin Stewart, Ravi Rampaul, Vikash Mohan, Kavesh Kantasingh, Tevin Robertson, Sunil Narine, Justin Guillen, Akeal Hosein, Uthman Mohammed, Dwayne Bravo, Adrian Barath, Khary Pierre, Kjorn Ottley, Dwayne Bravo, Daren Ganga, Ansil Bhagan, Yannic Cariah, Kieron Pollard, Sherwin Ganga, Emile Rajah, Marlon Barclay, Lendl Simmons, Rayad Emrit, Dave Mohammed, Steven Katwaroo, Samuel Badree, Imran Khan, Sanjiv Gooljar, Gibran Mohammed, Kevon Cooper, Teshawn Castro, Dane Teelucksingh, Jason Mohammed, Evin Lewis, William Perkins, Yannick Ottley, Shannon Gabriel.

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