The Trinidad and Tobago Red Force suffered a major setback on the eve of their second match of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Professional Cricket League four-day campaign after experienced middle order batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan withdrew from the squad due to personal reasons.
The Red Force tackle the Leeward Islands franchise in the second round of the tournament starting today at Warner Park in St Kitts and Sarwan was expected to sit out that match due to injury.
Guyanese Sarwan, who is the only non-national in the Red Force line-up, was not picked in the home team’s first match of the tournament last weekend against Barbados at Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain which ended in a draw after rain washed out most of the final day’s play.
He was selected by T&T in the second round of the first WICB draft which was organised to achieve an equitable distribution of the available player talent in the regional four-day and limited-overs competitions for the 2015 season.
“We felt having a player of the calibre of Sarwan in our side would be invaluable to our squad which includes a number of young players,” said national team coach Gus Logie after the draft which was held in early October in Barbados.
According to a media release by the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) yesterday, “as a result of the latest developments Sarwan will take no further part in the newly branded Professional Cricket League four-day competition.”
The 34-year-old right-handed has since returned to Guyana and TTCB CEO Suruj Ragoonath confirmed that no replacement has been named.
The TTCB said it is their “sincerest hope that the former West Indies Test player can resolve the issues he currently faces with a view to his possible return for T&T in the Nagico Super50 limited-overs regional tournament in January.”
Wicket-keeper batsman Nicholas Pooran replaced the former Test cricketer in the Red Force team that left for St Kitts on Wednesday to try and get their campaign back on track after being wounded by the Barbados Pride.
The Red Force were dismissed for 96 in their first innings against the Bajans who made 360 in their first innings.
T&T were 213 for five following on when rain intervened.
All-rounder Akeal Hosein scored his maiden first-class century against the Leewards in Port of Spain earlier this year and will be a key part of the Red Force’s batting line-up which also includes experienced players in Denesh Ramdin, Lendl Simmons and Jason Mohammed.
The Red Force have dominated the Leewards over the past three seasons and coach Gus Logie will want his team to continue that trend this weekend.
The Leewards are at the bottom of the six-team standings on two points following their innings and ten run loss to the Guyana Jaguars in the first round. They will be hoping to better that showing starting today.