Jamaica have swept aside all comers in recent years to win the Regional Four-Day Tournament five times in a row.
Trinidad and Tobago will try to curb that streak and Jamaica’s ambitions for a sixth straight crown when the two sides meet in their semi-final at Sabina Park, Jamaica, starting today from 11 a.m. TT.
Whether or not T&T can succeed in their quest to topple the Jamaicans will depend largely on their batsmen.
The two teams head into the contest on the back of contrasting showings. Jamaica won all their preliminary round matches, while Denesh Ramdin’s men suffered three bad whippings at the hands of Windward Islands, Barbados and Jamaica—who are all semi-finalists—to go along with their three victories.
Even with that backdrop and the knowledge that Jamaica have been perfect against T&T since the stalemate between teams in the 2011 semi-final at Sir Frank Worrell Ground in St Augustine, Ramdin is still confident they can come out on top.
“We have worked hard. We know what is required. We believe we will deliver in this crucial match,” said Ramdin.
The T&T skipper is looking for a complete turnaround from his batmen and the infusion of new blood into the squad could be the catalyst for that transformation.
One of the new players is wicketkeeper/batsman Stephen Katwaroo who played two matches earlier in the season and is back as a specialist batsman in the squad.
He represented West Indies last year at the ICC Under-19 World Cup in Australia last year and from the fighting spirit he showed on his debut earlier in the season, he could be a stabilising force in what has been a fragile batting line-up this season.
The other two are all-rounder Akeal Hosein and fellow left-hander Jeremy Solozano, who was one of the leading batsmen during the Regional Under-19 Tournament last year.
Both players are known for their fighting spirit in domestic cricket, and Ramdin will be hoping they can bring that attribute to the national team.
“We have some young players – Hosein, Katwaroo and Solozano – who are very exciting, talented and willing to go the extra mile,” said Ramdin.
“They have brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm. We all know they can ‘play’ and they are confident of doing the job.”
Despite the presence of the new trio in the team, T&T still boast a lot of experience in the skipper Ramdin, Jason Mohammed, Lendl Simmons, Shannon Gabriel, Amit Jaggernauth, Imran Khan and Rayad Emrit.
Now will be the perfect time for them to step up and deliver.
T&T: Denesh Ramdin (captain), Jeremy Solozano, Steven Katwaroo, Akeal Hosein, Lendl Simmons, Jason Mohammed, Imran Khan, Rayad Emrit, Amit Jaggernauth, Yannic Cariah, Shannon Gabriel, Marlon Richards, Kjorn Ottley. David Williams (coach), Omar Khan (manager).
Jamaica: Tamar Lambert (captain), David Bernard Jr, Danza Hyatt, Brenton Parchment, André McCarthy, Jermaine Blackwood, Odean Brown, Nikita Miller, Carlton Baugh Jr, Sheldon Cotterrell, Andrew Richardson, Nkrumah Bonner and Jamie Merchant.
Windward Islands vs Barbados,
Jamaica vs T&T, Sabina Park