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Rampersad hails ‘Red Force’ youths

By STEPHON NICHOLAS Saturday, February 23 2013

PATRICK Rampersad, Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) Executive Member, has showered this country’s young players with adulation following the team’s battling 16-run victory versus the Windward Islands on Thursday in St Vincent in the Regional Super 50 competition.

The “Red Force” batting was led by 26-year-old Jason Mohammed (63 not out) but there were valuable contributions from 17-year-old Nicholas Pooran on debut (33 not out), 21-year-old Evin Lewis (31) and 21-year- old Yannick Ottley (28) as TT posted a challenging 216 for five from their 50 overs.

Twenty-year-old Yannic Cariah (5/44) and Ottley (2/33) later did the job with the ball as the Windwards crumbled from 181 for three to 202 all out to hand the visitors four points for the win.

Rampersad, president of local club Merry Boys, hailed the impact TT’s less experienced players had on the game and is looking forward to more from them.

TT were without their captain Denesh Ramdin, Sunil Narine, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Darren Bravo who are all on duty with the West Indies team.

“That is why the selectors went with our young fellas. Our replacements stepped up to the plate and helped us get the win but I still think we should have won the game much easier. We shouldn’t have to win a match in the last overs, we should have won handsomely,” he said.

Asked whether TT’s more experienced players are not motivated enough in the longer versions of he game, Rampersad hesitantly said, “You’re beginning to wonder now. That’s all I’m going to say.”

He urged caution, however, about making sweeping changes in personnel for all formats of the game as he believes young players should not focus too much on Twenty20 cricket in the early stage of their career as it could hinder their technique.

“We should take our time with our youngsters because with T20 you have to be careful of that being detrimental to them later on,” he warned.

With TT bottom of the standings in the Regional Four-Day Tournament with a loss to the Windwards but among the leaders in the Super 50 after Thursday’s win, Rampersad is still confident TT can challenge for both titles.

“We were hopeful at the start of the season - and we still are - of winning one of the titles. We have the resources and the bench to still do well in both competitions,” he declared.

The TTCB official noted, though, that the team must improve in all departments especially their batting if they intend to add another crown to their Twenty20 trophy won in January earlier this year.

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