Thursday, February 22, 2018

Williams: Barbados win will be crucial

Trinidad and Tobago men’s senior cricket team coach Kelvin Williams says a victory in the opening NAGICO Super 50 match against long-time rivals Barbados is very important to his team.

T&T, led by new captain Dwayne Bravo, will square off against the Barbadians on Sunday in their day/night match that bowls off  at 1:30 p.m. at the Queen’s Park Oval.

And Williams is keen on a win to start their campaign.

“You know the first game in any competition especially one like this,  the first game is always important to win,” WIlliams said. “ It puts you in a good position especially when you only have three games before the semi-final  and finals so it’s very important, very important  to win that first one and get it out of the way because you never know what will happen in the next  two games.”

The T&T coach said the local team’s chances of winning are “as good as any other team or even better”

But he did admit the prospect of playing at home could be a two-edged sword

“There are positives and negatives because of the familiarity of playing at home and the conditions, but there are also expectations from fans,  pressure from close ones and girlfriends and so on, so we can look at it in two ways but I hope the positive will prevail,” he said, adding that the team will have a two-day motivational camp during this week in their build-up. The team also has two practices today and Thursday at the National Cricket Centre in Couva before their final training session at the Queen’s Park Oval Saturday morning.

Despite being confident of T&T’s chances to win the tournament,  Williams doesn’t think the absence of top players like WI skipper Darren Sammy from defending champions Windward Islands or the big-hitting Chris Gayle from Jamaica will necessarily improve T&T’s prospects of clinching the title.

“We have to win every game that comes our way or beat every opposition in front of us. We can’t take sides for granted  and we cannot be complacent ,” Williams said. “People could step up and we got to be mindful about that..We gotta play good cricket whoever we come up against.”

T&T play in the Zone B alongside Barbados, Leeward Islands and Combined Campuses and Colleges.

“I think the Windward islands, the defending champions, I  don’t think they will  give up that throne or crown easily.   Guyana, Jamaica and Barbados, who is  coming in with a good strong unit all have a shot. Then you have the Leeward  Islands who are playing extremely well so  the competition is fairly, fairly strong  and  we expect stiff competition but at the end of the day T&T will come out on top,” he stated.

Williams said he had confidence in the T&T  batsmen especially on the evidence of their last three warm-up matches. He is also depending on T&T’s  international level cricketers and he expects others to step up their game and adapt to differing situations and conditions.

As for the Oval pitch, Williams says he expects an even contest between bat and ball.

“The  pitch has changed over the last couple of years at the Oval. It used to be dry now they will have a bit of grass on it,  but  it is a good sporting wicket at the Oval now, so you have a bit in it for the bowlers and the batters could also play, so I expect  the pitches will be prepared as they usually are and we will be ready to play our best cricket on it,” he said.