The trinidad Guardian / The 2017/18 four-day regional tournament bowled off last weekend with the Red Force coming up against the Barbados Pride. Guyana taking on Jamaica and the Windward and Leewards clashing in the other match. The T&T team has not won the regional tournament since 2006 and to be honest I think this season is also going to be challenging. In recent years, we have not been able to field a settled team. We have rotated captains like a sou-sou hand as the selectors can’t seem to find a true leader in the ranks.
I am extremely happy to see Dinesh Ramdin back at the helm as not only do I think he is a good leader, but he seems to be able to motivate the team more than anyone else. I think the West Indies selectors have done the T&T squad a huge favour as Ramdin wants to prove that he is still the best wicket/keeper batsman in the region by a long way.
Ramdin has already scored a hundred and a half-century in his first two innings and I am sure his dogged determination to show up the West Indies selectors will see him score a lot of runs during the tournament. I just hope he does not take a note out of his pocket for Courtney Browne.
The rest of the team is quite young and inexperienced to start the tournament and I am hoping the Captain can help the likes of Isaiah Rajah, Amir Jangoo, Jeremy Solozano and Tion Webster along the way. I have said on numerous occasions that Webster is one for the future but unfortunately he failed in both innings in the game vs Barbados, but I hope the selectors try to persist with him and the coaches assist him with his batting failures.
He is an attacking player by nature and he now has to learn how to build an innings. He seems at ease when playing in the National league but the standard of regional cricket is much higher and he must learn to curb his natural attacking instincts and to be more watchful. I think all the batsmen are extremely capable and with Ramdin’s ability to guide them I expect the young men to come good.
My concern is the Red Force bowling attack-unfortunately I am not seeing real match winners. What I do see is good medium-pace bowlers all capable of picking up wickets in Marlon Richards, Roshon Primus and Webster. However, we have not been able to produce a similar pairing of Bishop and Gray with real pace for a number of years and the board needs to get out there and find some youngsters with raw pace and let us try to develop them. In the spin bowling department a lot is going to be expected of Imran Khan and Bryan Charles but I don’t see them being devastating and blowing away teams with bounce, turn and guile and winning games for the Force. Khan has been around for a long time and is a useful leggie but he is no Yasir Shah or Sunil Narine. Charles is learning his trade and I am hopeful that the coaches call on some of our past cricketers to come and spend an evening or two with the youngsters to lend some guidance.
With the West Indies selectors on the lookout for new blood, the incentive is there for the Red Force players as after the first round some old names that have been tried and tested are still cropping up and I hope the selectors try new blood in the test arena. I understand later on in the tournament some of our T20 stars will make themselves available and I truly hope that our selectors pick the best available team at that time; anything else will be an injustice to the nation.
Good luck Red Force-give it your all!