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Park jinx

Hadyn Gill

Park jinx

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BARBADOS’ cricketers travelled to Trinidad on Tuesday expecting to lock horns against their bitter rivals at the Queen’s Park Oval today.
It was with some disappointment when they learnt the same evening that the venue for their opening match of the 2011 regional four-day competition was Guaracara Park, a ground that brings back unpleasant memories for them.
Captain Ryan Hinds and his young team, however, remained upbeat yesterday evening during a practice session at the National Cricket Centre where rain restricted their final preparation to the indoor nets.
“My only major concern is that it was said before that Guaracara Park and certain other grounds were not fit (for first-class cricket). We came with the intention that we were playing at Queen’s Park Oval,” Hinds told WEEKENDSPORT.
“It was said that we would be using the Test venues. It is a matter of striking a balance but nevertheless we’ve come here to do a job and we have to accept the fact that we are playing at Guaracara Park and go out there and give a 100 per cent.
“It is a matter for the bigger heads. It doesn’t make any sense having Queen’s Park Oval and the likes of the Vivian Richards Stadium at a standstill – then when you reach international standard, we go there and it seems as though we are playing at foreign grounds,” he asserted.
Amidst concerns over the quality of the facilities at Guararcara Park, officials of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board of Control have given assurances that there had been significant improvements to the ground which surrounds an oil refinery and is home of the Petrotrin Sports Club just outside the busy southern town of San Fernando.
Barbados have lost three of their last four matches at the venue – which Hinds calls a jinx – including successive defeats in the 2006 and 2007 Carib Beer International Challenge finals, and appeared certain to lose the fourth in succession had rained not intervened on the last day of their 2009 contest.
They return here with recent memories of a disappointing defeat  by Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean Twenty20 Tournament at Kensington Oval two weeks ago.
“It is a chance to settle the score. They are fielding a very young team as well. They have lost their captain who I believe is one of the better leaders in the Caribbean. It is a boost for us,” Hinds said.
“We are very upbeat. Our preparations have been good. We have been very fortunate to have a guy like (manager) Desmond Haynes in our set up.”
Barbados’ record against Trinidad and Tobago in all forms of the game in recent years is hardly one to boast about. In 19 matches between the two teams over the past seven years, Barbados have won only three games against 13 defeats.
In addition to the first-class losses, the Trinis have also prevailed in the shorter forms of the game and some observers might feel the Bajans are intimidated by them.
“We don’t fear Trinidad and Tobago. We let ourselves down in terms of our batting. We have to be patient,” Hinds said.
“They are going to throw a lot of spin at us. We have been working in the nets over the last couple of weeks batting against a lot of spin.
“We need to apply ourselves a lot more. We have done some homework as to why we fell down to Trinidad over the years.”
A few minutes after Hinds spoke, it rained very heavily but by the time the players made their way back from the practice venue to their hotel further south and closer to the match ground, the skies had cleared in the late evening.
While the tour selectors will make a final decision on the starting line-up this morning, it is expected that uncapped Roston Chase and former captain Jason Haynes will be the two players carrying the towels.