Wednesday, January 17, 2018

No Easy Fight

Williams expects ‘exciting’ Barbados match


ALL FOCUS: Barbadian batsman Jonathan Carter, right, keeps his eyes on the ball during his team’s net session yesterday at Queen’s Park Oval. Barbados, who lost their Regional Super50 contest to Trinidad and Tobago at the Oval on Sunday, will face the same opponents there in the Regional Four-Day tournament, starting tomorrow from 10 a.m. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

Mark Fraser

Trinidad and Tobago may have got the jump on Barbados in Sunday’s Regional Super50 tournament at Queen’s Park Oval, but coach David Williams is expecting a stern examination from the visitors in their Regional Four-Day Tournament clash, which bowls off tomorrow at the same venue.

Skipper Denesh Ramdin and Jason Mohammed dug T&T out of a hole at five for three, and the home side batted their way to a competitive 264 for eight before taking a 41-run victory.

Williams acknowledged that T&T have a healthy rivalry with the Barbadians, and predicted that they will be fighting to return the favour after losing to the hosts on Sunday.

The T&T head coach lauded Ramdin and Mohammed for their role in that triumph.

“The two senior guys put their hands up. That’s what we expect from senior guys,” Williams told the Express. “They are experienced; they are the guys who are supposed to carry the rest of the team. The way they batted yesterday showed their professionalism. It’s good to see Ramdin and Jason doing well for the team. We want to transfer that sort of innings into the four day (tournament).”

“(Barbados are) a good team; they’re very passionate about their cricket. They don’t like us to beat them, so they’re going to come hard at us in the four-day game,” he added.

“They have a few senior players in the Brathwaites (skipper Kirk and Carlos) and Tino Best, but we are pretty confident at the moment. We didn’t play well in the last game. But we always have exciting games against Barbados. This one is going to be much different. It’s going to be a keen contest, and we’re looking forward to it.”

Trinidad and Tobago, currently fourth, are battling with Barbados – with whom they are level on 36 points–for third spot in the four-day semi-finals. Both teams have already secured a semis berth, and will know only too well that the victors in this match (even on first innings) will likely avoid having to meet champions Jamaica in the semis.

Jamaica and Windward Islands are locked on 48 points each, but the five-time defending champions have a match in hand. They are likely to cop top spot.

But Williams is not worried for his team despite two batting collapses against Jamaica last week that left them nursing their wounds inside of three days.

“Apart from the first game (against Windwards) and this game against Jamaica, we were pretty much very consistent in terms of scoring big runs and putting us in good positions,” the former West Indies wicket-keeper said. “We scored 400 (plus) against CCC and we scored (over) 350 against Guyana. We’ve been pretty consistent with Bravo and the other guys around. We want to put this Jamaica game to sleep as a one-off again.”

He pointed out that T&T have won three consecutive four-day matches outright before losing in Jamaica, and said his team have the ability to bounce back from that defeat.

The coach also gave praise to his bowlers, who he said are doing a “fantastic job”, led by pacers Shannon Gabriel and Rayad Emrit. He singled out young pacer Marlon Richards and spinners Amit Jaggernauth and Kavesh Kantasingh for their roles as well.

And Williams is also pleased with how the younger players have filled gaps left by the absence of senior players such as IPL players Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine, as well as Bravo’s younger brother Darren.

“They’re learning and they’re progressing slowly. (Leg-spinner Yannic) Cariah is one who is doing pretty well with bat and ball, (Yannick) Ottley played extremely well when given the opportunity. He is a very special player. We hope he will do well. (Wicket-keepers Stephen) Katwaroo and (Nicholas) Pooran came in when Ramdin was out and they also did well. The youngsters are doing pretty well."

T&T have made just one change to the four-day squad that played against Jamaica for tomorrow’s match. UWI student Ottley has been excused because of exams, and Akeal Hosein has been called-up to take his place.

T&T squad:

Adrian Barath, Lendl Simmons, Akeal Hosein, Jason Mohammed, Denesh Ramdin (captain), Imran Khan, Yannic Cariah, Rayad Emrit, Amit Jaggernauth, Kjorn Ottley, Shannon Gabriel, Marlon Richards, Kavesh Kantasingh; Omar Khan (manager), David Williams (coach)