Thursday, December 14, 2017

T&T to miss Cooper for St Lucia leg


CELEBRATORY PERFORMANCE: Kevon Cooper, centre, celebrates with Dwayne Bravo, left, after Bravo took a wicket in Trinidad and Tobago's Caribbean T20 match against Guyana on Saturday night. Cooper will take no further part in the CT20 competition as he joins Chittagong for the Bangladesh Premier League.—Photo: ROBERT TAYLOR

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Trinidad and Tobago will be without the services of all-rounder Kevon Cooper for the remainder of their Caribbean Twenty20.

The medium pacer left for Bangladesh today to link up with the Chittagong Kings for the second season of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Twenty competition, which bowls off on Friday.

Cooper will line up with Chittagong Kings for the BPL, and his absence from the T&T squad for their remaining CT20 fixtures is a big blow to the defending champions' bowing attack, which is already strained with the absence of key fast bowler Ravi Rampaul who is on the injured list.

"Cooper will not be with the squad in St Lucia. He is off to the Bangladesh Premier League so Rayad Emrit will have to fill that void," the T&T manager told the Express following the team's 80-run win over Guyana in Port of Spain on Saturday night.

The right-arm seamer, Emrit, took two for 18 from four overs against Guyana, which was his first game of the tournament.

"Emrit's performance is a big boost for the team heading to St Lucia," said Khan.

"Cooper leaves on Monday so we will be with 13 players in St Lucia…we knew that before the tournament started. It is risk we took knowing his quality and we needed him with (Kieron) Pollard missing the first game here," the manager explained.

"He has played his part and we have players to fill the void as Rayad demonstrated tonight (Saturday night)," he added.

Cooper said he was excited to be heading back to Bangladesh for a second stint with Chittagong Kings, but insisted that it was a bitter-sweet feeling for him leaving the T&T camp in the middle of their Caribbean T20 campaign.

"I am going back for a second time. I had a good competition there and I really enjoyed playing there but I must say I will miss playing for Trinidad and Tobago," he said.

"I was really looking forward to playing in the Caribbean T20 and with the team performing so well tonight (Saturday night), it is really hard for me to leave the especially knowing that Ravi is not around but I really hope the guys go to St Lucia and go all the way," the all-rounder added.

He also took the opportunity to thank the fans for coming out and supporting the team throughout the Trinidad leg of their CT20 campaign, and insisted that it was a joy and honour to play in front of a full house for T&T.

"I am looking forward to the Bangladesh Premier League, but I will truly miss playing for Trinidad and Tobago. I wanted to be part of the team and to win a third time around and I want to wish the team all the best," he added.

Speaking about the team's win over Guyana, Cooper said: "We know the quality of our batting and bowling and once we started playing and picking up that momentum, we knew we would get into stride as a team and we really came out here and showed Trinidad what we can do," the all-rounder concluded.

T&T arrived in St Lucia yesterday and will have a training session today ahead of their remaining round robin matches against the Windward Islands tomorrow and Barbados on Wednesday at Beausejour Cricket Ground, Gros Islet in St Lucia.