Barath possible for Guyana clash

PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD - Opening BATSMAN Adrian Barath is in a fitness race to be ready for the West Indies Cricket Board Regional Four-Day match against Guyana which starts on Friday at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain.

Barath sustained a hand injury while batting against Barbados in round two of the competition at Kensington Oval. However, he will train with the “Red Force” at the National Cricket Centre in Balmain, Couva today. 

Pending medical advice, a decision will be made on Barath’s availability against Guyana. He will bring a much needed boost to the batting line-up which struggled against Jamaica in the previous round. 

Trinidad and Tobago captain Rayad Emrit said that the management is closely monitoring Barath’s recovery and is hoping the right-handed batsman can play against Guyana. 

“If Adrian is available then he will provide a massive boost to our batting which is our weak point. If he is unable to play then I don’t think there is much we can do to strengthen the batting,” said Emrit yesterday. 

He added, “There has been a lot of rain here so the local players have not gotten much opportunity to play cricket and the other guys will not be back from the West Indies camp.” 

The match against Guyana is crucial for the national team since a loss will put them in danger of not qualifying for the knockout round. 

“This is a crucial match and the loss against Jamaica was a big setback. If we beat Guyana we have a good chance of qualifying for the knockout stages and we need the batsmen to come for us in order for that to happen,” Emrit added. 

He felt that with the team getting closure on Runako Morton’s untimely death the players will be more focussed on Guyana. 

“The passing of Morton was tragic and now that we attended his funeral I think we have that closure and it is time to move on. There will be no distractions and our minds will be clear,” Emrit noted. 

Jamaica’s fifth straight win in the Regional Four-Day Championship on Monday has left the remainder of teams scrapping for the three semi-final spots now up for grabs in the competition. 

The four-time defending champions crushed TT by 192 runs just after lunch on the final day at Queen’s Park Oval, to stretch their lead at the top. 

They now have 60 points, 24 clear of the second placed Guyana. Though they will sit out the next round of matches with a bye, they are assured of finishing the preliminary round on top of the standings. This scenario opens up a race for the remaining spots in the final four, with each team still in with a chance of qualifying. 

Despite holding second spot in the standings, Guyana will have to ensure they beat TT in the next round to guarantee themselves a semi-final spot, as they sit out the last round with a bye. 

The remaining teams all have access to 24 points as they will be fully engaged in the next two rounds.

This article was taken from The Trinidad and Tobago Newsday Newspaper.

Wed, 03/14/2012 - 04:03