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T&T’s ‘Red Force’ ready to rumble
T&T manager Omar Khan believes the Leeward Islands will not pose a serious threat in the local side’s opening match of the Caribbean T20 series at the Sir Viv Richards Stadium, Antigua today. T&T, who Khan referred to as the ‘Red Force’, are part of Group B, which also includes Canada, Barbados and Hampshire, will need to win at least three of their four preliminary matches to qualify for the semifinals.
Speaking to the T&T Guardian yesterday, Khan said the team would come out on top once the players stuck to the basics.“In Twenty20 cricket, the side which makes the most mistakes is likely to be on the losing end. Any team can upset another on any given day, but once we play intelligent cricket and are consistent in all departments, I don’t see us having a problem with the Leeward Islands. Consistency is the key.”
T&T, who placed third in last year’s tournament, will be without star allrounders Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard, who opted to take part in the ongoing KFC Twenty20 Big Bash in Australia. Led by Daren Ganga, they will be looking to West Indies regulars Darren Bravo, Adrian Barath, Denesh Ramdin, Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul and Runako Morton, formerly of the Leeward Islands, to pick up the slack. Khan said the younger players would have to step up and take responsibility in the absence of the high profile pair. “Let’s face it, [Bravo and Pollard] are valuable senior players but we have already accepted the fact that they will not be with us. It’s a great opportunity for the others to stake their claim on the T&T team by stepping up their level of performance.”
T&T have emerged as one of the region’s strongest Twenty20 teams since the format was introduced at the Stanford 20/20 in Antigua in 2006. They finished second in the inaugural tournament but bounced back to win its next edition in 2008. The following year, T&T stepped into the international spotlight at the first Champions League Twenty20 in India where they finished runner up to New South Wales. However, the team missed out on qualification for the second instalment when it was eliminated in the semifinals of last year’s Caribbean Twenty20 in Port-of-Spain.
Khan said it was time for T&T to earn back their place as the region’s premier Twenty20 team. “It’s a matter of the players understanding that as professionals, they need to display pride and passion when they represent T&T. We have been Caribbean T20 champions in the past and it’s about time we establish our winning ways again. The guys know the more consistently they do the basics, the more success they will have. ” Khan said the team, which had its final training session before today’s match from 9 am - noon yesterday, was full of enthusiasm leading into the tournament. “The team spirit is excellent. They’re energised and the level of intensity is good. They put in a lot of hard work in preparation for this tournament and they are eagerly awaiting tomorrow’s game.”
T&T: Daren Ganga (C), Samuel Badree, Adrian Barath, Darren Bravo, Kevon Cooper, Sherwin Ganga, Richard Kelly, Imran Khan, Jason Mohammed, Runako Morton, Ravi Rampaul, Lendl Simmons.
Leeward Islands: Wilden Cornwall (C), Lionel Baker (VC), Justin Athanaze, Rahkeem Cornwall, Jahmar Hamilton, Montcin Hodge, Chesney Hughes, Anthony Martin, Kieran Powell, Jacques Taylor, Devon Thomas, Gavin Tonge, Kelbert Walters, Tonito Willett.
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