TTCB officials say TT won’t miss duo

PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD - The crucial absence of mystery spinner Sunil Narine and big-hitter Kieron Pollard in Trinidad and Tobago’s team for their opening Caribbean Twenty20 match against Jamaica may create somewhat of an unsettling feeling among cricket fans nationwide.

However, Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) members, Patrick Rampersad and Dr Allen Sammy, have strongly lent their support to the “Red Force” and have both affirmed that the local squad can generate the required artillery to record an opening victory against Jamaica. 

On January 6, the annual Caribbean T20 bowls off at the Queen’s Park Oval, Port-of-Spain, from 8pm. TT and Jamaica will get things started this year, while Barbados takes on the Leeward Islands (4pm) and Guyana faces the Combined Campuses and Colleges (8pm) on the following day. 

The experienced duo will be missing for the opening clash, but will return to national duty on January 8, when TT meet the CCC. Currently, Narine and Pollard are representing the Sydney Sixers and the Adelaide Strikers respectively in the Australian Big Bash. 

But, Rampersad and Dr Sammy are confident that the local team has what it takes to overpower the Jamaicans in what has been dubbed the biggest opening clash of any regional T20 competition. 

“Any team who has the availability of players such as Narine and Pollard and can’t access them will indeed be missing something special. However, the style of cricket that Trinidad and Tobago plays in the T20 format, it will be a difficult task for the Jamaican to overthrow us,” said Rampersad. 

The Merry Boys general manager remained positive and threw responsibility on the younger locals, to represent themselves and their country to the best of their ability. 

“I am confident in the reserves and extra players we have. I have no doubt that we can beat Jamaica. Our (TT) T20 cricket is of a high standard and I think we have the young talents to carry us even further,” he added. 

Meanwhile, Dr Sammy shared similar sentiments and lauded the national T20 Cricket Festival for playing an integral part in developing and producing more consistent cricketers of the game’s shortest form. 

“When we think about the advantages that our team has in the T20 version of the game, it outweighs the absence of Narine and Pollard. They are two very important players but we must look past what we don’t have and do our best with who we actually have (available). The Festival (T20) has helped this country harness some good and young T20 players. I think the experience that the local clubs get at this tournament plays a vital role in producing T20 quality players,” he indicated. 

The TTCB executive member also called on the younger players to step-up and take this opportunity to stamp a permanent name for themselves. While he commended the strengths of Narine and Pollard, Dr Sammy urged the newcomers to do their best. 

“The national team has made a great impact in India and South Africa throughout the T20 style of play. I would like some of the younger ones to grasp this opportunity and try to breakthrough.

We have a lot of enthusiastic and hard-working players and they can defeat Jamaica. Our general approach for T20 cricket is good, we will do well,” he concluded.

Trinidad and Tobago: Denesh Ramdin (captain), Darren Bravo, Samuel Badree, Dwayne Bravo, Kevon Cooper, Shannon Gabriel, Jason Mohammed, Sunil Narine*, Yannick Ottley, Evin Lewis, William Perkins, Kieron Pollard*, Ravi Rampaul, Lendl Simmons.

Jamaica: Tamar Lambert (captain), David Bernard Jr, Nkrumah Bonner, Odean Brown, John Campbell, Sheldon Cotterell, Yannick Elliott, Danza Hyatt, Andre McCarthy, Jamie Merchant, Nikita Miller, Andre Russell, Krishmar Santokie, Aldane Thomas. 

First Published In The Trinidad & Tobago Newsday.

Tue, 12/25/2012 - 03:35