A new-look Barbados Tridents team under the leadership of West Indies Test and One-Day International captain Jason Holder has ended a week of training in preparation for the 2018 Hero Caribbean Premier League which got underway at the Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday. Holder took over the captaincy of the team from Kieron Pollard who led the team for the past four years.
The members of the Barbados-based franchise team are a mixture of experience and young players. Among the experienced cricketers turning out for the Tridents this year are former Australian captain Steve Smith, prolific South African batsman Hashim Amla, New Zealander Martin Guptill who is playing for his third franchise in the CPL and the big-hitting Dwayne Smith, the former Barbados and West Indies player.
Then there is Shai Hope, a cricketer who cricket fans have branded as a special talent especially after he became the first batsman last year to score centuries in both innings of a Test match at Headingley. Since then Hope has struggled somewhat in both Test and ODI matches.
There are also the young and budding players like Tion Webster, Shamar Springer and Chemar Holder who are all looking to establish themselves as top-class cricketers.
Holder said his team was in a pretty good mood ahead of their first match of the season against Guyana Amazon Warriors in Guyana on Sunday.
“The mood in the camp is pretty good we have several outstanding overseas players who have joined with the talented regional cricketers in the team. I think we have a well-balanced side, I don’t want to single out players, we have a team that is quite capable of doing the job for us,” Holder told journalists at the Hilton Hotel last night.
For the first time since the inception of the CPL five years ago, the Tridents will be playing five matches at Kensington Oval, and Holder said the home advantage in those games could play a critical role in how the Tridents placed at the end of the season.
The Tridents have not won the tournament since 2014 and Holder noted that one of the keys to winning the tournament was to play consistently good cricket.
“We got to play good and solid cricket, one of the things that I have been focusing on is communicating with the team. We have a lot of experienced players in the dressing room, Steve (Smith) has been a very successful captain, Amla has been very successful at what he does, and we have a very good support staff who have done a remarkable job so far. Hopefully, we can all put it together. I think it is also important that we expose as much of our talent in the Caribbean during the season. So it is very good to see that we have so many young players in our team, I hope they will learn a lot during the season,” Holder said.
Guptill who has played for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots and the Guyana Amazon Warriors said he was excited and looking forward to playing for the Tridents.
“This is my third team in the CPL and I am looking forward to being part of the Tridents’ team. I spent four years with Guyana Amazon Warriors and I had one year with the St Kitts Patriots as well, I am now with the Tridents, so I guess I can be considered to be a journeyman in the tournament. I am in a team with several world class players and I am very excited to be part of the Tridents this year,” Guptill said.
The former captain of the Guyana Warriors said his expectation for the Tridents was for everyone to have fun and to do their best.
“At the end of the day cricket is a game and teams are going to lose matches. There are occasions when the other team is going to beat you. We are aware that it is not realistic to think we are going to go through the tournament and win every game, so we are just going to go out there and enjoy ourselves with each other and make sure we put some big scores on the board,” he explained.
Guptill said he loves coming to Barbados, after visiting the island in 2010 with the New Zealand team. “My intention is to score a few runs at Kensington Oval and put on a good show for the crowd,” he said.
Hope said he was looking forward to being with the Tridents. The stylish batsman said it was always a pleasure to be involved with the CPL and representing a team based in one’s own country and playing in front one’s home fans gave a cricketer the impetus to do well.
There is a school of thought that Hope’s style of batting is not suited for the shorter version of the game but the right-handed batsman said batting was about adapting to situations as quickly as possible.
“Cricket is about adapting to conditions and situations as quickly as possible, at the end of the day, the basics still apply. I enjoy playing all forms of cricket. I consider cricket to be cricket and that is why I am looking forward to the CPL,” Hope said.
Fast bowler Chemar Holder expressed elation at his inclusion in the Tridents’ squad. The 20-year-old made his first-class debut for Barbados earlier this year and was selected to tour England with the West Indies A team a few months ago.
“It has always been my plan from the first time I saw the CPL to be a member of one of the teams. I am hoping if I am given the opportunity to play in a match that I will have an impact on the game. It would be wonderful for me if the Tridents won the tournament in my first year with the team,” Holder said.
The young cricketer said it was a good feeling to be in a team with players such as Smith, Amla and Guptill after watching them play on television as a child and now being in the same team.
“It is my intention to pick their brains and get all of the knowledge they have accumulated over the years in the next four weeks, which I am sure will help me to develop as a cricketer,” Holder said.