Trinidad and Tobago cricketers will enter another phase of their preparations for the Champions League when they oppose Afghanistan in the second match of the Asia versus the Caribbean T20 Extravaganza at the Queen’s Park Oval, tonight.
One of the positive things coming out of war-torn Afghanistan has been their cricket team, who have been the fastest movers in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings. Up to two years ago, they were playing in division V of the ICC league and now, they are playing in the top flight in the T20 World Cup coming up in Sri Lanka later this month. The Red Force, as T&T is called, will be looking for revenge against the visitors who defeated them in a T20 Festival in Canada last year. Manager of the T&T team, Omar Khan, said he was looking forward to his team getting a solid test. “Our boys need the competition and I am quite excited to see them square up against Afghanistan. The opponents are a good team. We have video footage of them and the relevant data on them compiled by our analyst Dinesh Mahabir and the team will be focussing on their play before the clash.”
The T&T boys did not train yesterday, as they took the day off and enjoyed a mental preparation session last night at the Hyatt Regency. Today the players will have sessions dealing with player analysis and light gym work. Khan said the management did not want to burn out our players. “They have three consecutive days of cricket and we want to keep them fresh. They are all very keen and a number of them have points to make in the selectors minds. The battle for places for South Africa is heating up and because of this, the players are expected to be very intense over the next three days.” The Rayad Emrit-led team is missing eight of the regular players (Dwayne Bravo, Darren Bravo, Sunil Narine, Keiron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Samuel Badree, Lendl Simmons and Ravi Rampaul)|.
However, the return of Shannon Gabreil who made his debut for West Indies earlier this year will be welcomed while experienced former captain Darren Ganga and West Indies opener Adrian Barath will lead the batting. T&T will go into action at 7.15pm in the second match of the Extravaganza. At 3.25pm, Barbados the other Caribbean side in the tournament, will battle Bangladesh, who are here with their full strength squad. The tournament is being played on a round robin basis with the top team taking away US$50,000. This provides tremendous motivation for T&T according to Emrit. “There are a lot of motivating factors going into this tournament and I think the players will be both looking at the big purse of US$50,000 and also for good personal performances, with places on the team still up for grabs, with Champions League coming up.
“Afghanistan have brought their strongest team and will be tough. But we are confident that we can get past them. For us it is one game at a time and we are looking to win the title and keep the momentum going.”
Trinidad and Tobago: Rayad Emrit (capt), Adrian Barath, William Perkins, Evin Lewis, Justin Guillen, Daren Ganga, Sherwin Ganga, Jason Mohammed, Shannon Gabriel, Navin Stewart, Dave Mohammed, Kevon Cooper, Yannick Ottley and Kharry Pierre.
Afghanistan: Karim Khan Sadeq, Mohammed Nasim Baras, Samiullah Shinwari, Shafiqullah Asmat Stanikzai, Mohammed Nabi Eisakhil, Shapur Zadran, Shafiqullah Shafaq, Dawlat Khan, Nawroz Mangal, Gulbani Naib, Mohammad Shehzad Kotwal, Izzatullah Amanullah, Dawood Babar, Shahzadz Shahzada, Mohammad Asghar Stanikzai, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Jawed Ahmadi and Noor Ali Zadran.
Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (capt), Mahmud Ullah, Tamim Iqbal Khan, Zunaed Siddique,
Mohammad Ashraful, Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hossain, Mohammad Elias, Ziaur Rahman, Masrafe Bin Mortaza, Mohammed Abul Hasan, Jahurul Islam, Shafiul Islam, Khan Abdur Razzak, Farhad Reza, Tanjeeb Ahsan, Saqlain Mushtaq, Nasir Ahmed, Akram Khan, Sabbir Khan Shafin and Arafin Islam.
Barbados: Shamar Brooks, Rashidi Boucher, Johnathan Carter, Kirk Edwards (capt), Ryan Hinds,
Alcindor Holder, Jason Holder, Carlo Morris, Ashley Nurse, Kemar Roach, Kevin Stoute, Omar Phillips, Shai Hope and Kyle Mayers.