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After arriving early yesterday morning in Barbados for the finals of the Regional 4-day Tournament against that country, the T&T cricketers were given an immediate pep talk before hitting the training grounds.
Moments after settling down at the Barbados Beach Club Hotel, the players were told by manager of the team Omar Khan that they needed to remember the frame of mind they took into the last game against Jamaica and replicate that never-say-die attitude in the finals, which gets underway at 10 am at Kensington Oval this morning.
By noon, the Red Force was out in full numbers at the nets at Kensington Oval under the scorching sun, going through their final preparations. According to Khan: “We had a talk to the players as soon as we came in and the batsmen have been told in no uncertain terms that they need to focus on their game and give the bowlers some breathing space.
“Our strength going into this game is obviously our bowlers but we are looking to the batsmen to play their part and give us that added advantage.”
Looking at the conditions at Kensington Khan, he said it is very dry. “The field is parched, I have never seen an outfield like this at Kensington before. This means that the outfield is going to be lightning fast and batsmen will get value for shots.
“With the current dry conditions being experienced here, the pitch will dry out quickly and the spinners might come into play as the match progresses, which will work in our favour. However, we need to put up the runs on the board to stand a chance of beating the Barbadians here.”
Meanwhile, Barbados have dropped their two most experienced fast bowlers in Tino Best and Fidel Edwards for this match.
The selectors announced an unchanged 13-man squad for the match and found no room for Best, 31, a veteran of 98 first-class matches, and fellow West Indies pacer Edwards, 31, who boasts 84 first-class appearances.
In defending the move, chairman of selectors Hendy Wallace said they were keeping faith with the players who had served them well this season.
Best, who has recovered after spraining his ankle in the final preliminary match on April 10, could not hide his disappointment.
“I am shocked. I’m fully fit. I can’t really worry about it. I’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what is important,” Best said.
In the absence of Best and Edwards, the attack will be spearheaded by fellow West Indies pacer Kemar Roach, who had been restricted to one match this season.
The other fast bowlers in the squad are rookie Miguel Cummins, one of the standouts for Barbados in the tournament with 26 wickets in seven matches, and Javon Searles, who has taken six wickets in three matches.
T&T squad: Jeremy Solozano, Lendl Simmons, Steven Katwaroo, Jason Mohammed, Akeal Hosein, Denesh Ramdin (captain), Imran Khan, Rayad Emrit, Amit Jaggernauth, Yannic Carriah, Shannon Gabriel, Marlon Richards and Adrian Barath. Officials: David Williams (coach), Omar Khan (manager).
Barbados squad: Kirk Edwards (captain), Kraigg Brathwaite, Rashidi Boucher, Jonathan Carter, Kevin Stoute, Shane Dowrich, Ashley Nurse, Sulieman Benn, Javon Searles, Kemar Roach, Miguel Cummins, Roston Chase, Shai Hope. Officials: Hartley Reid (manager), Hendy Springer (coach), Jacqui King (physio), Shannon Lashley (trainer), Rodney Ashby (analyst).