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Pride clash with Red Force


ROGER SEEPERSAD

Pride clash with Red Force

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THE PENULTIMATE ROUND of the WICB Professional Cricket League Regional Four-Day tournament bowls off today and there is still a lot to play for as third place Trinidad and Tobago Red Force host second place Barbados Pride at the National Cricket Centre, Balmain, Couva.

For the Pride (106 points), it is an opportunity to gain some ground on leaders and defending champions Guyana Jaguars (125 points) who are 19 points clear at the top of the six-team standings.

Jason Mohammed’s Red Force (74 points), who are out of the title race, have set their sights on a top three finish and will be going all out to accomplish that goal.

Both teams agree it is going to be a gruelling contest that will test both squads.

However, it might be a tougher test for the hosts who will be without West Indies player Darren Bravo (below) and the in-form Evin Lewis.

Lewis was called up to the West Indies World Twenty20 side and will miss the final two matches of the season. Former T&T Under-19 batsman Ewart Nicholson has been called up as his replacement, while off-spinner Bryan Charles comes in at the expense of left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein.

darren-bravo2

Still missing from the Red Force line-up is the left-handed Bravo. Questioned about Bravo’s absence, T&T Cricket Board CEO Suruj Ragoonath said “he is not available”.

Questioned further, Ragoonath said “He is not injured…He is not in the squad for tomorrow.”

The TTCB CEO added that a press release will be sent out today to address the situation.

In Bravo’s absence, the uncapped Ewart Nicholson has been drafted into the team.

Meanwhile, Red Force skipper Mohammed is still confident his players can deliver.

He recognised the quality of the Bajan attack with the return of pacer Kemar Roach to partner the leading fast bowler in the competition, Miguel Cummins, but Mohammed backed his batsmen to meet the challenge.

“Barbados will be a tough game, but hopefully, we can put on another good performance and come out on top at the end. I think we will have to play good all-round cricket. Barbados have a good all-round team with quality bowlers and batsmen so we will have to be at the top of our game to meet the challenge. I think our batting will be the key. Hopefully our batsmen can get some runs and give us a big total,” Mohammed explained.

Barbados manager Wendell Coppin is also expecting a good challenge from the Red Force who he said could prove to be very dangerous at home.

“The mood in the camp is very good. Ultimately any encounter against Trinidad is a challenging one for Barbados. We are looking forward to the challenge. The preparation coming into this game is very healthy,” Coppin explained.

“The key is getting 20 wickets. Kemar Roach is coming back from injury. He has had some challenges with his action and with his form this season but we believe that as an international cricketer, he has the capability to be a match-winner,” he said of the returning Roach.

“It is going to be a good test for him against Trinidad…We believe we have the capabilities, but ultimately they will be tested here against a good and reliable Trinidad side,” Coppin added.

In addition to Roach, Pride have also included international players in skipper Kraigg Brathwaite, Shane Dowrich, Shai Hope and Jomel Warrican.

wicb-pcl-logo“We know at the end of the day they are a quality team and we will have to rise to the occasion. We know it might be a little more difficult so we will have to grind a little more and hopefully we can get to a good total,” Mohammed said of the challenge ahead,

“I think they are going to come hard at us and we will be ready for that. If they win their last two games and Guyana slip up they could possible win the tournament so we know it is going to be a tough game but we just have to keep fighting because if we get two victories we could move to second which will be a big boost for us as well,” Mohammed explained.

In the other games starting today, the Jaguars come up against last place Leeward Islands Hurricanes in Antigua while the fifth place Windward Islands Volcanoes host fourth place Jamaica Scorpions in St Vincent.

Squads

Red Force (from): Jason Mohammed (captain), Yannic Cariah, Narsingh Deonarine, Rayad Emrit, Kyle Hope, Bryan Charles, Jon Russ Jaggesar, Steven Katwaroo, Imran Khan, Yannick Ottley, Marlon Richards, Jeremy Solozano, Ewart Nicholson.

Pride (from): Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Shamarh Brooks, Jonathan Carter, Roston Chase, Kemar Roach, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Justin Greaves, Shai Hope, Omar Phillips, Kevin Stoute, Hayden Walsh Jr, Jomel Warrican.

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