Trinidad and Tobago coach Kelvin Williams believes a shift from two-day to three-day cricket in the country’s top club competition could benefit the T&T batsmen in their approach to first-class cricket.
Last year, T&T were runners-up to Barbados in the Regional Four-Day tournament, reaching the semi-final as the fourth place team with three wins and three loses before upsetting Jamaica to reach the final.
T&T’s first-class scores in the games they lost last year were 179 and 86 against the Windward Islands in the opening match of the season, 109 and 129 against Barbados and 121 and 192 against Jamaica.
In the final, they were dismissed for 110 and 237 as Barbados won by an innings and 22 runs.
The TTCB’s premier club competition is the National League Premier Division which involves 12 teams playing 11 rounds of two-day games.
Speaking to the Express over the weekend, during the first round of the Premier Division Williams said: “The batting has always been a problem (for T&T). I can’t point my finger at any particular area. Technically the guys are alright. It is just a matter of them trying to concentrate for a long period of time.
“I looked at a couple games yesterday (Saturday) in the Premier Division, which is our top competition and if you look at it, a batsman doesn’t have time to really stay and bat for any long period of time. It is a hustle game. If you play out a maiden over, the next over you want to catch up because of the shortness of a two-day game,” he added.
“The people in charge have to look at it and maybe try and extend it to a three-day competition and that is one way I can think of that we will help the batsmen learn to concentrate for a longer period of time,” Williams said.
For the upcoming first-class season, the T&T coach says he wants players who can spend time at the crease.
The TTCB have organised a final three-day warm-up/trial game bowling off today at the National Cricket Centre, Balmain Couva and Williams wants to see batsmen doing just that.
“I think what we are looking at are players who can bat for a long period of time. Spending time at the crease is very important. Yes you might have a guy who can give you a quick 30 but within the first half hour he is back in the pavilion.
“So we are looking for someone who can bat for sessions and there are a lot of players out there who fit that criteria but it is just for them to get it right in the last preparation match,” he explained.
Speaking about the bowling prospects for the season, Williams says he is expecting “good things” from his fast bowlers, namely Shannon Gabriel and Marlon Richards.
“As far as the bowling is concerned, we have Shannon Gabriel who will be with us, barring injury, and I expect good things from him. He has been bowling well and he is one who is pushing for a Test recall,” the coach said.
“Marlon Richards is another fast bowler from last year who has been doing well. His progress is now being monitored. He has been involved in a bowling programme at the (National Cricket) Centre for three months now, so I expect him to continue to grow from last year,” Williams added.
Asked about the introduction of bonus points in the regional first-class competition, Williams thinks it will give teams an incentive to play more attacking cricket.
“I think it makes for more attractive cricket. It gives the teams an added bonus if they could play attractive cricket as far as putting runs on the board and taking wickets. So you will try to play more attacking cricket,” he added.
Yannick Ottley XI: Yannick Ottley (captain), Evin Lewis, Marlon Barclay, Ranga Lachana, Imran Khan, Steven Katwaroo, Kevon Cooper, Derone Davis, Daron Cruickshank, Ricky Jaipaul, Ansil Bhagan, Shannon Gabriel, Kissoondath Magram. David Williams (coach).
Rayad Emrit XI: Rayad Emrit (captain), Justin Guillen, Kjorn Ottley, Petrock Nicholas, Jason Mohammed, Jonathan Augustus, Akeal Hosein, Yannic Cariah, Adrian Ali, Kavesh Kantasingh, Amit Jaggernauth, Marlon Richards, Tevin Robertson. Kelvin Williams (coach).