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Red Force looks for good start in four-day quest
Twenty20 regional champions T&T, without a first-class four-day title since 2006, will begin another campaign full of promise today when they meet the Windward Islands at Arnos Vale Playing Field in St Vincent.
While the Windwards were wrapping up a victory against the Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) in their opening round last week, the T&T boys were given a chance to take the weekend off and enjoy the Carnival in Trinidad.
Today, they break crease and will be hoping for a bouncing start against the home team at the Arnos Vale ground, right beside the seaside in Kingstown. The T&T boys got down to some serious work yesterday and held a very intense three-hour session under the blazing heat.
After the session, manager of the team Omar Khan stated all was well and the players were looking very sharp. “It is amazing just how keen the players were at practice after so much cricket over the past few months. As we all know cricket is a year-round sport now and the guys have been playing for quite a while.
“At practice they looked very sharp and they are hungry for success in the four-day tournament. Some of the players have not been 100 percent fit but they are now and will be looking to give it their all when play begins.”
Opener Adrian Barath is fit again and has been enduring a terrible stint with the willow over the last six months. He will be anxious to get amongst the runs to prove he still has what it takes to make the regional side. T&T will start the match with four openers batting in the first to fourth positions.
Barath will open with the in-form Justin Guillen, with Evin Lewis coming in at the critical number three and Lendl Simmons at four. In the bowling department, Ravi Rampaul will spearhead the attack and Khan believes he has a tremendous burden to carry. “Ravi is fit and raring to go. He is very committed to the T&T team and we are hoping to get the best out of him before he leaves to play for the West Indies later in the season.”
Rampaul will have as his partner Shannon Gabriel, while the spin department will be under the management of the seasoned Amit Jaggernauth and Kavesh Kantasingh.
The boys from the Windwards have always shown admirable unity, which has boosted their team's performances and helped them overcome any deficiencies they may have. There are several key members of the team, most notably Devon Smith and Andre Fletcher with the bat, and Shane Shillingford with the ball, who can trouble the T&T team.
Smith is in tremendous form having hit back-to-back centuries in the opening clash against the CCC, while Fletcher has also been among the runs lately. Shillingford will also want to make a statement because he has apparently fallen to the wayside among potential West Indies spinners.
Meanwhile, leaders Jamaica will play hosts to CCC at Sabina Park. The five-time reigning champions got a nervy opening win against Barbados but will be more comfortable against the students at Sabina Park.
Guyana, who drew their rain-affected opening match against the Leewards, will be hoping for better luck against the Barbadians, who would have revenge on their minds when they clash at Kensington Oval.
T&T team: Denesh Ramdin (captain), Adrian Barath, Justin Guillen, Yannick Cariah, Lendl Simmons, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Imran Khan, Amit Jaggernauth, Kavesh Kantasingh, Ravi Rampaul, Rayad Emrit, Shannon Gabriel.
Windwards: Liam Sebastien (captain), Andre Fletcher, Donwell Hector, Lindon James, Delorn Johnson, Keddy Lesporis, Garey Mathurin, Nelon Pascal, Kenroy Peters, Dalton Polius, Shane Shillingford, Devon Smith, Tyronne Theophile.
T&T vs Windwards at Arnos Vale in St. Vincent 10 am.
Jamaica vs CCC at Sabina Park 11 am.
Barbados vs Guyana at Kensington Oval 10 am.
Teams Mat Won Lost Tied Draw Aban Pts
Jamaica 1 1 0 0 0 0 12
Windward Is 1 1 0 0 0 0 12
Guyana 1 0 0 0 1 0 6
Leeward Is 1 0 0 0 1 0 3
Barbados 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
Comb C&C 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
T&T 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
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