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Pollard adds strength to Red Force
The national cricket team will aim to put its campaign back on track, when the Red Force faces a confident Combined Colleges and Campuses (CCC) outfit in a four-day regional match, which bowls off at 3 pm today at the Queen’s Park Oval.
T&T will look for inspiration from all-rounder Kieron Pollard, who has been added to the squad for the match. Pollard only recently returned to action after suffering a knee injury late last year. In the last round, T&T was blown away by Barbados in three days, losing by an innings and 160 runs at Kensington Oval. Experienced off spinner Amit Jaggernauth has also been included. Jaggernauth and Pollard have replaced Daron Cruickshank and Yannic Cariah.
Pollard is known for his exploits in the shortest version of the game, but the 26-year-old harbours visions of one day playing Tests for West Indies. This match provides him with a platform not only to fortify the process of his physical rehabilitation, but also remind fans of his ability in a longer format.
For the record, he has played 24 first-class matches—all for T&T in the R4D—and has scored 1,421 runs at an average of 38.40. His tally includes three hundreds—with a top score of 174 against Barbados five years ago at Guaracara Park in Trinidad—and seven half-centuries.
CCC is a side that T&T would relish playing to stay on course for a top-four finish, having beaten the visitors in their previous three meetings in the R4D.
Earlier this week T&T manager Manohar Ramsaran said there were no excuses for the dismal performance against Barbados and the team will bounce back. He said: “We discussed the many shortfalls, we admitted there were no positives, we have to re-group and show that this was one bad match.” T&T was convincing in its first two matches, defeating the Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands by 186 runs and an innings and 107 runs respectively.
The T&T batsmen struggled against the Bajans, bundled out for 120 in the first innings and 199 in the second. Left-handed opener Evin Lewis was the only T&T batsman to score a half-century in the match, making 61 in the second innings. Lewis’ opening partner Adrian Barath has passed 20 on many occasions this season, but has yet to get a half-century. Barath has scored 39,6, 24,20 and 26 in his five innings.
CCC is looking for its second win in as many matches, after getting past Guyana by seven wickets in the last round. Shacaya Thomas (176) and Chadwick Walton (107) both slammed centuries for the students, while Trinidad-born Ryan Austin grabbed nine wickets in the match.
In other matcheseigning champions and current leaders Barbados will have to strongly reverse recent history to keep their title defence on track, when they face Jamaica at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica.
The Barbadians have lost their previous three matches against the Jamaicans, including twice at the match venue two years ago, although their previous victory was four years ago at the Frank Worrell Memorial Ground in Trinidad.
The visitors’ previous victory in Jamaica came seven years ago, when they prevailed by an innings and 31 runs, and they can lean on this, as well as their hosts’ defeat in the previous round of matches as motivation.
T&T SQUAD: Rayad Emrit (Captain), Adrian Barath, Evin Lewis, Darren Bravo, Jason Mohammed, Jonathan Augustus, Imran Khan, Steven Katwaroo, Shannon Gabriel, Amit Jaggernauth, Kieron Pollard, Ricky Jaipaul, Marlon Richards, Kelvin Williams (Coach), Manohar Ramsaran (Manager), Clinton Jeremiah (Physio), Dinesh Mahabir (Analyst)
Round Five Fixtures
T&T vs CCC, Queen’s Park Oval, 3 pm
Jamaica vs Barbados, Sabina Park, 10 am (Jamaica time)
Windward Islands vs Leeward Islands, Grenada National Stadium, 10 am
Team M W L D Pts
Barbados 4 2 1 1 46
Windwards 4 2 1 1 45
Jamaica 3 2 1 0 38
T&T 3 2 1 0 36
CCC 3 1 1 1 28
Leewards 3 1 2 0 22
Guyana 4 0 3 1 17