Barath fit again and ready for Caribbean T20

Trinidad and Tobago batsman Adrian Barath is eagerly looking forward to the West Indies Cricket Board’s Caribbean T20 tournament. The 20-year-old right-handed opener, who late last year became the youngest West Indian to make a Test match century, made a return to the game earlier this week for Trinidad and Tobago against Combined Campuses & Colleges in Barbados in a warm-up to the Caribbean T20. He has recovered from a right knee injury which kept him out of the game since April.

“I have not played any ‘real’ cricket since the IPL so it was good to get back in the action earlier this week. I got a half-century in the first match so that was very good. I am feeling strong again and I’m really looking forward to the Caribbean T20,” Barath said shortly before a training session at Queen’s Park Oval on Thursday. “It was good to get some batting under my belt and it was good to get acclimatised to the conditions in Barbados. I’m feeling really confident with my form going into the tournament.”

Trinidad and Tobago will play in Zone A alongside Canada, Jamaica and Leeward Islands. Their opening match is against the Canadian on July 22 at 4 pm at Kensington Oval. They return to the same venue to face the Leewards on July 24 at 8 pm. Their final preliminary match will be a featured clash with Jamaica on July 28 at 8 pm at Queen’s Park Oval.

Barath, who has played in the IPL for King’s XI Punjad, said the mood in the Trini camp was upbeat with the Caribbean T20 just a week away. He added that they have full respect for all the other seven teams and won’t be taking anything for granted. There is a huge incentive to win the Caribbean T20, with the leading Caribbean team going on to represent the region at the Airtel Champions League in South Africa in September. Trinidad and Tobago went to the inaugural Champions League in India last year and placed second to New South Wales Blues of Australia.

“Our main objective is to win the Caribbean T20 and after that look towards the Champions League. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and focus on the Champions League and lose track of what we have to do in the home tournament. The Caribbean T20 won’t be a walk in the park. We are playing against some very good teams with some very talented players. Everyone will be playing hard and everyone wants to win. That will make it a very interesting tournament and we know it will be very competitive,” Barath said.

“We went to the Champions League last year and we want to go back. It is a milestone for any team to go to the Champions League. We had a tremendous time last year. It was a great experience playing in front of those huge crowds and it was special the way we performed as a team. It is something every cricketer would love to experience.”

Squad: Daren Ganga (captain), Lendl Simmons, Adrian Barath, William Perkins, Kevon Cooper, Kieron Pollard, Imran Khan, Samuel Badree, Sherwin Ganga, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Bravo, Navin Stewart, Dave Mohammed, Denesh Ramdin; Colin Borde (manager), Kelvin Williams (coach), Ronald Rogers (fitness trainer)

Match schedule for Caribbean T20
Thursday, July 22 at Kensington Oval
Trinidad and Tobago v Canada – 4 pm
Jamaica v Leeward Islands – 8 pm

Friday, July 23 at Kensington Oval
Guyana v Windward Islands – 4 pm
Barbados v CCC – 8 pm

Saturday, July 24 at Kensington Oval
Jamaica v Canada – 4pm
Trinidad and Tobago v Leeward Islands – 8 pm

Sunday, July 25 at Kensington Oval
Guyana v CCC – 2 pm
Barbados v Windward Islands – 6 pm

Wednesday, July 28 at Queen’s Park Oval
Leeward Islands v Canada – 4 pm
Trinidad and Tobago v Jamaica – 8 pm

Thursday, July 29 at Queen’s Park Oval
Guyana v Barbados – 4 pm
Windward Islands v CCC – 8pm

Friday, July 30 at Queen’s Park Oval
Semi-Final 1: Winner of Zone A v Second of Zone B – 4 pm
Semi-Final 2: Winner of Zone B v Second of Zone A – 8 pm

Saturday, July 31 at Queen’s Park Oval
Third place play-off – 4 pm
FINAL – 8 pm