T&T middle-order batsman Darren Bravo has been tipped as the successor to all-rounder Kieron Pollard as Red Force four-day captain for the regional four-day tournament which is scheduled on April 1.
Azim Bassarath, president of the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) said that Pollard will not be available to lead the Red Force in the CWI Regional 4-Day Tournament later this year as the hard-hitting all-rounder will be engaged in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Pollard, 33, will be away to honour his contract in the IPL with reigning champions the Mumbai Indians. Although the IPL 2021 date hasn’t been released by the BCCI, media reports have emerged stating that the tournament will start from April 11 and the final will be played on June 6.
Bravo, 32, captained the Red Force in its fifth and final preliminary round match against Guyana Jaguars in the absence of Pollard, and the team won by six wickets with outstanding performances from Jason Mohammed, who scored an unbeaten 82, and Bravo scored 58 out of a total of 189 for four. Bowlers, Imran Khan (5/32) and Akeal Hosein (2/25) had restricted the opposition to 187 all out of 41.5 overs.
“I believe Darren Bravo will be appointed to captain the team. He is available and having captained the team last year when we placed second in the 4-Day Tournament before the Covid-19 Pandemic brought a halt to all cricket in the region,” said Bassarath.
He said the TTCB national executive plans to meet with the Red Force management team soon after they return from Antigua and Barbuda and have completed their quarantine period.
“We are going to sit down and plan ahead as to how to approach the Regional 4-Day Tournament,” he said. These preparations will commence tomorrow at the National Executive level which will convene to prepare for our session with the team management.
“Again, we have every intention of submitting another request to the Sports Company, for some additional support staff for the Regional 4-Day Tournament.
I hope that this request will also be approved as was done for the CG Super50 Cup and I look forward to a very competitive and rewarding CWI League competition.
“We are not going to rule out a victory in this tournament because the players want to do well and want to bring the Regional 4-Day title to our shores for the people of T&T,” he said.
Meanwhile, the TTCB is overjoyed and very proud of the performance of the Red Force CG Super50 Cup team which on Saturday comprehensively defeated the Guyana Amazon Warriors by152 runs in the regional 50-Overs final in Antigua & Barbuda.
In a media release, the TTCB stated that the Red Force dominance throughout the tournament was evidenced by their undefeated run which culminated with a record-breaking 13th championship title overwhelmingly.
TTCB president Azim Bassarath hailed the team effort under its captain Kieron Pollard and described the outstanding individual performances of Lendl Simmons, Jason Mohammed, Evin Lewis, young Jadon Seales and veterans Ravi Rampaul and Imran Khan as crucial to the tournament victory.
“However, none of this could have been possible without the support of our valued stakeholders and I want to recognize the patronage we received from the Sports Company of T&T, under the chairmanship of Douglas Camacho, and his entire board.
“I would also like to extend our appreciation to Justin Latapy-George and his department at SPORTT for their assistance in approving our request which was made for additional support staff that accompanied the team. I think had it not been for the backing of SPORTT, the notable accomplishments of the team may not have been achieved,” said Bassarath on Sunday.
The TTCB boss said the Red Force victory is very important for T&T’s cricket as it’s always very pleasing to see a national team bring home a major title of this nature. “What makes this even more remarkable is the fact that it was achieved during the Covid-19 pandemic, during which things have been very difficult for our players.
“Our cricketers had to undertake the quarantine process many times over before and after their arrival in Antigua and Barbuda and have made many personal sacrifices in ensuring that they represent their country with pride and distinction, something which they knew that the Republic of T&T needed at this time,” Bassarath said.
He said the players were very aware of what was taking place at the start of the tournament with the Andrea Bharratt issue in the headlines back home, and Pollard spoke on this issue to the media at the start of our second preliminary match.
For that match also, the Red Force players wore pink armbands in support of Andrea Bharatt, Ashanti Riley and all of the women of T&T who have been victims of violence.
The long journey to the victor’s podium at the Coolidge Cricket Ground however started last October 17, 2020, during a TTCB National Executive Retreat at the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba.
“The process of renewal started there and the TTCB was later bold enough to appoint a new head coach, David Furlonge, and a new manager, Sebastian Edwards. We even named a new senior selection panel and were criticized in some quarters for these actions.
“However, we have stood the test of time and indeed are very proud today about the decisions which were taken and the results achieved. We were well aware that success would come to T&T once we took the right decisions and the TTCB Executive should be complimented for doing so in the best interest of our team, and cricket in general,” Bassarath stated.
He said Pollard is an excellent captain who leads from the front. “He is very aggressive and has been pivotal in the success of our team. He is very passionate about the game and each decision taken by him is for the benefit of all concerned,” Bassarath said.
He said Pollard has made a habit of winning and this extraordinary trait has undeniably trickled down to other members of the team during the CG Insurance Regional Super50 Cup.