Months of preparation will be tested today when T&T open their challenge in the Karbonn Smart Champions League T20 tournament against Yorkshire at the Supersport Park in Centurion, South Africa. With Yorkshire winning their opening match against Uva Next by five wickets yesterday, and only one team from Group B of the qualifiers going through to the main draw, T&T are in a virtual final. If they lose, they are on their way home early.
Yesterday morning T&T received a major boost with the arrival of their five West Indian players in the form of skipper Denesh Ramdin, Darren Bravo, Samuel Badree, Ravi Rampaul and Lendl Simmons. Manager of the team Omar Khan said,“The players on arrival were asked to hug the others in an effort to re-integrate back into the set-up. “They arrived here like a breath of fresh air and were keen to practice with the rest of the team although they were coming off a nine-hour flight from Sri Lanka.”
When the T&T players awoke yesterday morning at the Fire and Ice Hotel at Melrose Arch, they were greeted by thunder, lightning and plenty rain. However, by lunchtime the weather improved enough and they were ready to proceed to the Centurion ground. Just as they were about to leave, tournament organisers informed them that they wanted photos of all the players and this delayed them further.
They eventually took the half hour drive to Centurion for practice and everything went smoothly for the men from the Caribbean. “The players really enjoyed themselves at practice and this is when they are really dangerous. When they are enjoying their cricket they provide excellent performances and we are looking forward to that again.”
Khan said,“It is important that Ravi Rampaul and Samuel Badree continue the good work that they started in Sri Lanka. It’s different conditions here but the guys are professionals and I back them to adjust and give us some match winning performances. “The other guys in the squad are also well prepared for the challenge before them and they have been working a lot on their fielding leading up to this tournament. Fielding is key in this tournament and the guys are looking pretty sharp and this gives us confidence.”
Ramdin also spoke to the players and said he was very happy to be back amongst them. “I am very happy to rejoin you all and I would like to see that support coming from you all, as you had done in the past. We have two important games before us and let’s hit the ground running.” T&T will start as favourites to win this match because the opposition is missing their best batsman in Jonny Bairstow, as well as their best bowler in Tim Bresnan.
In their opening match yesterday, they did not miss the duo, as they easily defeated Sri Lanka’s Uva Next by five wickets to book their opening points. A win for them today will see them through to the main draw and T&T and Uva Next will be knocked out. The first ball will be bowled at 11.30 am T&T time, the second game of a double header. The first clash will see Hampshire CC against Auckland Aces.
T&T: Denesh Ramdin (capt), Lendl Simmons, Adrian Barath, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Darren Bravo, Kevon Cooper, William Perkins, Sherwin Ganga, Rayad Emrit, Ravi Rampaul, Samuel Badree, Yannick Ottley, Shannon Gabriel and Navin Stewart.
Yorkshire Carnegie: Andrew Gale (capt), Moin Ashraf, Gary Ballance, Oliver Hannon-Daly, Dan Hodgson, Phil Jaques, Adam Lyth, David Miller, Steve Patterson, Azeem Rafiq, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Ryan Sidebottom, Iain Wardlaw and Dan Hodgson.