Combined Campuses and Colleges Marooners skipper, Carlos Brathwaite, said his side’s triumph in the Regional Super50 was built on a desire not to simply compete but to play an aggressive brand of cricket and actually win the competition.
Marooners lifted the domestic 50-overs title on Sunday when they trounced nine-time champions Guyana Jaguars by six wickets at Kensington Oval, to register their maiden success in the competition.
“Our motto was we wanted to be respected around the region and [coach] Floyd Reifer instilled in us that we came here to win,” the West Indies Twenty20 skipper said afterwards.
“CCC in the past have come to compete and when you come to compete and you get that close, then it’s not winning. You always have near misses. This year we came to win.
“We did a lot of soul-searching after the Leeward Islands game – I think that’s the last game we lost. We failed to chase 130 … and the message was just clear: if you want to win, you have to play a brand of cricket that’s aggressive, attacking, no fear and expressive.
“Since then, even if players played what may be deemed ‘a rash shot’ or ‘a bad shot’ or lose their wicket, the message from the dressing was always the same: why did you play it? It was more of a conversation – more communication than just slagging.”
He added: “I think that gave a lot of players the freedom to express themselves and in the games following obviously as a bowling unit, we bowled very, very well but some of the ways we chased down some of the targets were very impressive. It’s a culmination of a lot of things – a lot of hard work.”
One of the challenges Marooners face each year is their squad selection. They can only assemble their unit after the other franchises across the region have picked their squads.
As a result, there is often uncertainty about the availability of players and ultimately, squad combinations, which proves a headache for selectors.
However, Brathwaite said even with these hurdles the squad were still able to come together and gel quickly, holding intense training sessions and pulling together as a family.
“It was very difficult. I had a lot of chats with Floyd and I think we had the best combinations possible,” Brathwaite explained.
“Firstly, to play the games at UWI but then to be versatile enough to come to the Oval on what is a slightly different surface and be able to not only compete but win and win convincingly.
“So it’s a challenge but it’s testament to the system that’s in place at CCC. We’ve counted 33 or 34 players that would’ve passed through the CCC programme and gone on to West Indies A and West Indies international honours so it’s testament to the programme that even with the challenges we have, that we can put in such good performances.
“The challenge is now to do it in the four-day if included or to replicate it next Super50.”
Brathwaite’s presence was key to Marooners’ success. Not only was his international experience vital but he also performed on the field, gathering 212 runs at an average of 53 and also taking 13 wickets.
He said having skipped a potential T20 contract for the Super50 and then leading Marooners to victory, had been a rewarding experience.
“It means a lot. Over the past year people have been telling me I needed to sacrifice some of this franchise cricket and come back and play first-class [cricket],” Brathwaite said.
“[I] sacrificed a contract possibly in the Afghanistan Premier League this time around. I spoke to Floyd about trying to get my batting back on track and the opportunity to come and lead the CCC if possible.
“Spoke to Kyle Corbin and asked his blessing as captain at the time. For such big decisions to be made, such sacrifices to be made and then for it to culminate in a victory of the entire tournament, for it to go down in the history books is a special feeling.”