|Experienced players to boost TT in Super50 |
JOEL BAILEY Saturday, December 31 2016
A NUMBER of experienced players are expected to boost the quality of the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force team, ahead of the 2017 Regional Super50 tournament, which will be staged jointly in Antigua and Barbados from January 24 to February 18.
The Red Force, winners at home in 2015 and 2016, will be involved in Group A, alongside the Leeward Islands Hurricanes, Windward Islands Volcanoes, West Indies Under-19s and England county team Kent Spitfires.
Group B will feature the Guyana Jaguars, Barbados Pride, Jamaica Scorpions, CCC (Combined Campuses and Colleges) Marooners and ICC Americas.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Red Force coach Augustine “Gus” Logie, commented, “many of our experienced players have indicated their willingness to take part. So we welcome all those experienced players to the set-up.
We look forward to having a very experienced and possibly strong team for the Super50 (in 2017).” Veteran pacer Ravi Rampaul is currently in training with the team, along with all-rounder Kevon Cooper, while former West Indies captain and wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin, fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, all-rounder Rayad Emrit and opening batsman Evin Lewis have all indicated their availability, according to Logie.
“It looks good and, with the other youngsters available to us, it looks as though we’ll be almost close to a full-strength team,” said Logie, the ex-TT and WI middle- order batsman.
The Regional Four-Day Tournament is on a break until early March, to cater for the Super50 event. And Logie noted, “basically, those players who are not really involved in the Four-Day Tournament were preparing themselves home during that time. Now that we’re back out, we started on the 27th (of December), we had a few days.” As far as the training sessions are concerned, Logie stated, “hopefully, in the New Year, we’ll have two practice games at the (Queens’ Park) Oval. We’re looking at that facility because of the amount of rain, and I don’t think the (National Cricket Centre in) Couva is available as yet. There is a lot of rain around which is very difficult. So we’ll look forward to the New Year.” The Red Force are last in the six-team 2016-2017 Regional Four Day Tournament and Logie understands that he will be under pressure to improve the fortunes of the squad.
He admitted, “this is sports and you’re always under pressure - whether you’re a player, whether you’re an official. The bottom line is that you want to win and every competition you go into, you want to win regardless of the resources that you have that is available to you. Once you’re prepared to go into battle, you go in to win. This year is going to be no different to us. That’s what we’re about. The pressure is part and parcel of sport and we’ve got to live with it.” Can the Super50 competition be a catalyst for a Red Force revival this season? “This is a season that we feel if we have the requisite support from all the players, I think we would certainly rebound,” Logie replied.