PORT OF SPAIN – This being Trinidad and Tobago’s final trip to the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20), Denesh Ramdin’s men will certainly want to leave their mark on the tournament.
Runners up in the inaugural edition in 2009, T&T have represented the West Indies in three Champions League tournaments in four years.
Their participation in the 2013 edition will be their fourth appearance in the CLT20 in five years, and their coach David Williams is banking on the experience they have gained in that time to take them all the way this time around.
Everyone in the T&T roster, with the exception of teenager Nicholas Pooran, have played in the CLT20 before.
More than half the T&T squad have played for West Indies with six-Denesh Ramdin, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Sunil Narine, Samuel Badree and Ravi Rampaul–being part of the regional side for last year’s ICC World T20 championship victory in Sri Lanka.
Asked what he thought of his team’s chances in the tournament, Williams said: “We want to go all the way.”
“We want to win this tournament and with somebody like Sunil in the side, it will give us an added boost, but we also have to take it one step at a time,” the T&T coach explained.
“It is all about getting past the preliminary stage and getting into the semis and then the final, so it is one stage at a time, one game at a time and hopefully we can make the country proud by winning this tournament,” he added.
Williams is also banking on the experience of his players to lead the team to victory.
“What we have in our corner is experience. We have a lot of experienced guys in the squad, not just Champions League experience but also international experience, so we are hoping the experience the guys have gained over the years is going to come into play this time around. So the experience is one of the factors that I think will take us through,” the coach explained.
And Williams says heading into the tournament with his players hitting their stride also augurs well for the team.
He was pleased with the practice matches T&T had over the previous two weekends and he said the guys were playing like they were already at the tournament.
“I am happy with the way things have gone. We played two games in Guyana and two very good games in Dominica and what is pleasing about it is how the guys went about it. It was like the tournament had already started, so the passion was there and the guys fought right down to the end.”
“We had Evin Lewis at the top of the order, Ramdin, Jason Mohammed…we had a few guys doing extremely well. Badree with the bowling, (Rayad) Emrit, he has been having a good stint as well and Sunil will always be himself. So we have guys that are going to India with form and that is what you want with any team,” Williams added.
“While you wish you can have all your players like (Kieron) Pollard, (Dwayne) Bravo and (Kevon) Cooper in your squad, with Sunil around and the rest of the guys doing extremely well, we are pleased with the combination at the moment,” the T&T coach concluded.
T&T play their first match in the competition against Kemar Roach’s Brisbane Heat in Group B next Sunday at JSCA International Cricket Stadium in Ranchi.
T&T Squad: Denesh Ramdin (Captain), Rayad Emrit, Jason Mohammed, Nicholas Pooran, Sunil Narine, Evin Lewis, Samuel Badree, Navin Stewart, Shannon Gabriel, Yannick Ottley, Adrian Barath, Sherwin Ganga, Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul, Darren Bravo; David Williams (coach), Omar Khan (manager).