Middle order batsman Jason Mohammed will lead the T&T Red Force in the Nagico Regional Super50 cricket tournament, which bowls off on January 7 in Trinidad.
Mohammed replaces all rounder Rayad Emrit, who led the team to the title last season. The T&T Cricket Board explained that Mohammed was appointed captain for the rest of season commencing with his appointment in the recently-concluded first half of the PCL 4 Day. The decision was in keeping with the position taken by the selectors, when previously Denesh Ramdin and Darren Bravo were replaced by Emrit as captain, given that they were not available for the entire season, across all formats.
At the time of the team selection, Emrit was in the draft for the Pakistan Cricket League which is scheduled for February. In an attempt to maintain leadership stability within the team, the selectors recommended Mohammed and this was ratified by the Executive Committee.
The Red Force will be severly weakened as most of the senior players will not be available. Kieron Pollard is currently injured and was not considered as was Shannon Gabriel. Sunil Narine is under suspension for an illegal bowling action. Dwayne Bravo, Lendl Simmons and Samuel Badree are unavailable due to Big Bash commitments in Australia.
Ravi Rampaul was not considered as there was uncertainty surrounding his availability at the time of selection. Earlier, Rampaul, through his agent, had asked for his retainer contract to be terminated following the tour of Sri Lanka. Upon their return from Australia both Denesh Ramdin and Darren Bravo will join the team.
Two newcomers in fast bowler Philton Williams and spinner John Russ-Jaggessar have been called up for senior duties.
Jaggessar plays for Caldrac Sports club in central and has been very impressive, while Philton the former T&T Under-19 fast bowler makes his senior debut.
The tournament will have 27 matches over 18 days in the biggest, senior regional domestic 50-overs-a-side tournament to be ever staged by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
It will be co-hosted in St Kitts/ Nevis.
The Red Force, who are defending champions, will open their account against the Jamaica Scorpions in a Zone A encounter; while Barbados Pride will face newcomers, ICC Americas. In the other group, beaten finalist Guyana Jaguars will face the Windward Islands Volcanoes; while the Leeward Islands Hurricanes will face the CCC Marooners in St Kitts/Nevis
In the preliminary round, each team is scheduled to play six matches in a non-elimination format and top two teams in each zone will move to the semi-finals due to start, Wednesday, January 20 at the Queen's Park Oval. Winners from the semis will then play in the final on Saturday, January 23 also at the Queen's Park Oval.
Last year's final was a one-sided affair when the Red Force clobbered the Jaguars by a 135-runs margin.
SCHEDULE & TEAM
Group A: T&T Red Force, Jamaica Scorpions, Barbados Pride, ICC Americas
Group B: Guyana Jaguars, CCC Marooners, Windward Islands Volcanoes, Leeward Islands Hurricanes
Opening Matches: Thursday, January 7
Red Force vs Scorpions � Queen's Park Oval � TT 1.30 pm)
Pride vs Americas � UWI SPEC TT � 9 am
Jaguars vs Volcanoes � St Paul's � SKN � 9 am
Hurricanes vs Marooners � Warner Park � SKN � 1.30 pm
T&T team: Evin Lewis, Kyle Hope, Yannick Ottley, Narsingh Deonarine, Jason Mohammed (captain), Kjorn Ottley, Steven Katwaroo, Imran Khan, Rayad Emrit, Akeal Hosein, Philton Williams, Jon Russ Jagesar, Kevon Cooper and Marlon Richards.
Management: Gus Logie (Head Coach), Kelvin Williams (Assist Coach), Roland Sampath (Manager) and Adarayll John (Strength & Conditioning Coach). Physiotherapist to be named.