Trinidad and Tobago senior team manager Roland Sampath says the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force will look to build some momentum with their 178-run win over Jamaica as they move forward in the West Indies Cricket Board Professional Cricket League four-day tournament.
After two heavy defeats in their opening games against the Windward Islands Volcanoes (an innnings and 148-run defeat) and the Barbados Pride (222 runs), the Red Force rebounded on Sunday with a resounding 178-run victory over a struggling Jamaican team.
The Red Force are set to tackle the Windward Islands Volcanoes once more at the National Cricket Centre in Balmain, Couva, next week Friday. And while the prospect of winning the title is out of the question, Sampath would like his charges to finish on a high note.
“I would like to see us try to win as much games as possible getting back and fight the Windwards here at home first up, then we gonna come up against the in-form Guyana who are gearing for revenge after we humiliated them in the Regional 50 overs (tournament) and our last match is against the Leewards. ‘’So if we can finish middle of the pack—at the end of the last game we were second from the bottom—that would be a great finish. Also I would like to see some of the guys achieve their personal goals,” Sampath said. Sampath said he was happy for the team to rebound because “this is a young team and suffering two heavy defeats like that can be traumatic to them”.
Asked what was responsible for the turnaround in the performance, Sampath said better decision making with the leadership of skipper Rayad Emrit and a tough talking-to from the technical staff.
“In an inexperienced team like this one, you need someone to lead and Rayad (Emrit) has provided that. Also we still have to credit the young players who responded well and who the coaches have been working hard with. So it’s a good feeling for the team to win the way they did against Jamaica,” Sampath, a TTCB national team selector, said.
Sampath added that the team may receive a boost after doctors cleared discarded West Indies ODI player Keiron Pollard from the injury list . But Sampath is not willing to make any changes. “It will be good if the powers that be stick with these young players because they are the future,” Sampath said.
But Pollard or no Pollard, T&T will have to contend with the team that defeated them handily, this time at home. “They (Windward Volcanoes) are up to full strength and gave us a good thrashing. Now we are at home, and we hope to build on momentum and see if we can turn tables on them,” Sampath said.
Although Emrit and Pollard are on the mend, T&T still have injury concerns with opening batsman Jeremy Solozano and pacer Shannon Gabriel out with groin and shoulder injuries, respectively. And their batting woes also continue.
Sampath says the more experienced Jason Mohammed , who struck 60 against Jamaica, needs to be more consistent and youngster Kjorn Ottley needs to carry on his rich vein of form from the Jamaica match. “(Spinner) Imran Khan has been consistent… the bowling is not doing that badly, the batting is always our concern and we need players to step up. Evin Lewis has to get among the runs for us to perform consistently well.