Spinner Imran Khan will skipper the T&T Red Force team in the upcoming Super50 Cup, which takes place in Trinidad and Tobago and St Kitts and Nevis between November 6 and December 1.
Khan, fresh off representing the Jamaica Tallawahs in the recently concluded Hero Caribbean Premier League, was confirmed as skipper by the T&T Cricket Board yesterday, as it announced a squad which is a shadow of the one that made the semi-finals of the tournament a year ago. In the 2018 edition of the competition, the likes of Dwayne Bravo, Ravi Rampaul, Sunil Narine and Rayad Emrit were some of the names representing T&T.
However, with the West Indies’ series against Afghanistan running concurrently with the Super50 Cup, the likes of Lendl Simmons, Evin Lewis and Denesh Ramdin would not have been available for selection.
However, out of form batsman Darren Bravo has been selected although there are lingering concerns about his fitness.
Head coach Mervyn Dillon also yesterday told the T&T Guardian the left-hander wasn’t given the captaincy to allow him to focus on his batting.
He said, “Bravo finished the tournament (Caribbean Premier League) with an injury and we’re still not sure in terms of his fitness how he’s going to come out. He told me he would be ready.
“Coming back into some cricket where he has struggled for a while, I think you don’t want to put that added pressure on him. You want him to go out there and play his cricket and get back the form that we all know he is capable of.”
Yannick Ottley will be Khan’s deputy, as the likes of Kyle Hope, Jeremy Solozano and Jason Mohammed will be the main batsmen on the team. Akeal Hosein and Jon-Russ Jagessar have also been selected in the spin department. Tion Webster, who wasn’t selected by the Barbados Pride franchise, has also secured a loan move and will play for the Red Force.
Commenting on the squad, Dillon said, “Unfortunately, with the time and the ending of the CPL and financial restrictions with the board, we weren’t able to do as much as I would have wanted. Some guys that were left out were difficult decisions that we had to make but when you look at the squad, it’s a very good squad.”
The former West Indies fast-bowler is also backing his side to come good in the tournament.
“I think we have as good a chance as many. For me, taking over the team, one of the things I pinpointed in terms of the level of fitness, I think we did some work with that and we have most of our players up to the mark that is required, although I think it has to be pushed a lot further.”
As the Red Force heads into their first match against the Volcanoes on November 7, Dillon wants everyone focused on the same mission.
“The idea of getting the team to be pulling in one direction is the challenge as coach. If we can create that team unit then we will do much better and that is my focus. The guys are quite keen. They have shown the appreciation for the way I want to do things going forward and building that trusting environment,” he said.
T&T have been drawn in Group B along with last year’s beaten finalists Guyana Jaguars, West Indies Emerging Players, Windward Islands Volcanoes and the United States of America (USA).
T&T RED FORCE SQUAD:
Imran Khan (Captain)
Yannick Ottley (V-Capt)
Jon Ross Jaggesar
Mervyn Dillon (Coach)
David Furlonge (Manager)