T&T’s chances of retaining their regional T20 cricket title were struck a major blow yesterday with the news that ace fast bowler Ravi Rampaul has been ruled unfit to play in the tournament which gets underway on Sunday at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain.
Manager of the team Omar Khan revealed that Dr Anil Gopiesingh, who has been dealing with Rampaul’s knee injury, has told the fast bowler that he needs to rest for the next two to three weeks and as such he will not be able to take his place in the team.
His spot goes to all-rounder Rayad Emrit who has been practising with the team all the while. Khan, in responding to Rampaul’s unavailability, said: “Of course, it is a major blow for us. Ravi is a class bowler and has been doing well for us over the past few years. He is one of the main bowlers on the West Indies team as well, so when you have to do without a bowler of his calibre, it leaves you with a void. We have good bench strength and this we are depending on at the moment.
“However, he is being replaced by a man with experience who has been doing well in the trials and the warm-up matches and this is good for us. The coach of the team David Williams has been working with Emrit for a while now and he will fit in well in the set-up. Emrit has enjoyed success with this team in regional T20 cricket already so it is nothing new to him.”
Looking at the entire set-up Khan says the team remains confident that they can go all the way and repeat as champs.
He said: “We are very confident, we have a number of players that played on the winning West Indies World Cup team and it gives us a definite advantage going into the series. We are hopeful that luck is on our side and that the rest of the players remain fit, so that we can have all the guys to select from.”
T&T was due to play a warm-up clash against the Windward Islands at the UTT facility in O’Meara last night and they will return to the nets this afternoon to continue their preparations. Fans wishing to see more cricket can show up today at UTT where Barbados comes up against the Windwards in another warm-up match.