Four-day glory bid
BARBADOS will attempt over the next four days to end their longest ever title drought in the modern era of Caribbean first-class cricket.
Having not won the region’s premier trophy since 2007, they have all to play for in the WICB Regional 4-day final against Trinidad and Tobago, starting today at Kensington Oval.
Barbados’ previous longest period without a four-day triumph was from 1986 to 1991 but captain Kirk Edwards downplayed the significance of the championship gap yesterday, pointing out that things happen in cycles.
“Like any other team in the world, you win for a period of time. During a rebuilding time, you tend to lose. That’s nothing to get caught up about,” Edwards told NATIONSPORT.
“I’m not too bothered about it. What happened a few years ago has nothing to do with now.”
The two teams will find a grassy Kensington pitch that looks likely to favour fast bowlers.
In recent times, Barbados’ pacers have rolled over Trinidad and Tobago batsmen, including in the final preliminary round match when Edwards’ side sent the home team crashing to 109 and 129 on the way to victory inside two days at Queen’s Park Oval.
It was Barbados’ third successive victory over Trinidad and Tobago in first-class matches, reversing a string of defeats against their opponents in all forms of the game.
“As far as I’m concerned, Barbados used to beat themselves against Trinidad most of time due to a lot of misery,” Edwards said.
“Over the last two seasons, the difference is that we play together. We didn’t have crap going on in the dressing room.
“Even [new] guys coming in are much more at ease, can express themselves and play the way Barbados play cricket. It is about making a guy feel comfortable and getting the best out of him at this level.”
Not many observers would have predicted a final between Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago after the two teams finished third and fourth respectively in the preliminaries.
Barbados had to overturn an earlier defeat on home soil against Windward Islands in the semi-finals, while Trinidad and Tobago, who finished the first segment of the competition with half the number of points as Jamaica, dethroned the five-time defending champions in their own backward.
Against the background that the Super50 final also produced the third- and fourth-place finishers from the early phase, no team can be considered favourites going into this final.
“The majority of people never expected Trinidad to go to Jamaica and beat them. Cricket is played at the time. You don’t go on what happened last year or last week,” Edwards said.
“We just came off a good game. If we come here and we don’t play well, the result will be against us.”
Trinidad and Tobago are the reigning Caribbean Twenty20 champions, having swept to a hat-trick of titles in the shortest form of the game. They have also captured three 50-over titles since 2007 but a first-class trophy has eluded them since 2006.
Trinidad and Tobago captain Denesh Ramdin expects that the team winning the toss will bowl first but said his men will be prepared for anything.
“Barbados got the better of us in Trinidad. They will probably try to intimidate us. We’re going to keep our heads calm and play a good game of cricket,” he said.
“To win the title will be good. We didn’t win the 50-over. We played well in the prelims and lost in the semis. That was disheartening to everyone. We were upset about it. We’d like to go all the way in this final.”