PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad – The captains of the six franchises in the West Indies Championship are talking up their team’s chances as the region’s marquee four-day tournament restarts on Wednesday, all saying their players were fit for battle and focused on executing their game plans.
Cricketers have been working hard over the last two months and are keen to get back on to the field for the third round, following a break after the first two rounds played in February ahead of the Apex Test series.
Defending champions and the unbeaten Barbados Pride lead the points standings on 42 points.
Captain Kraigg Brathwaite said his men were looking forward to the challenge after the lengthy break.
“For us, it’s backing our plan and sticking to it. We cannot underestimate any of the opponents and execute what we’ve been doing at training,” he said.
Second in the standings are Trinidad & Tobago Red Force, the only other unbeaten team so far, on 38.6 points. Captain of the home team, Imran Khan, said they were confident heading into their third-round clash against Leeward Islands Hurricanes.
“But we are taking it one game at a time and not taking anyone for granted. Our only focus is Red Force and executing the plans that we have as a team,” he said.
Rahkeem Cornwall, captain of the Leeward Islands Hurricanes which rounds out the top three in the standings with 24.6 points, said his men were prepared for their clash with Red Force at the Diego Martin Sporting Complex.
“Our preparations coming into the remaining rounds have been going well and we are just ready to get out and play. Cricket is played on the day, so we just must assess the conditions, stick to our game plans, and execute,” he said.
Fourth on the table are Guyana Harpy Eagles on 21.4 points. They will play the table-toppers at Queen’s Park Oval.
Captain Leon Johnson said players got in good performances during their practice matches and they would be going into the third round physically and mentally prepared.
“It’s about getting our mental focus in order and perform as we know we can,” he said.
Although Windward Islands Volcanoes lie second last in the standings on 10.9 points, captain, Kavem Hodge said they intend to do the basics for longer and let everything fall into place when they go up against Jamaica Scorpions, who are at the bottom of the table.
“The stats don’t reflect the kind of cricket we’ve been playing, our focus now is to finish off games after coming very close in the previous rounds,” he said.
Jamaica Scorpions, on 8.8 points, will have their work cut out for them.
“The previous two rounds were some time ago and it’s almost as though we’re starting from zero again, though the points standing won’t reflect that. What we must do now in this round is to start well and execute what we have been doing in practice,” skipper John Campbell said.
Scorpions and Volcanoes, who have not picked up a single win so far, play each other at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy.
The franchises are playing for the coveted Headley/Weekes Trophy – named in honour of George Headley and Sir Everton Weekes, pioneers of West Indies cricketer and two of the game’s greatest batsmen.
Barbados Pride: Kraigg Brathwaite (Captain), Shamarh Brooks, Jonathan Carter, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Keon Harding, Chaim Holder, Shai Hope, Akeem Jordan, Shayne Moseley, Raymon Reifer, Ramon Simmonds, J
omel Warrican, Camarie Boyce, Justin Greaves.
Guyana Harpy Eagles: Leon Johnson (Captain), Keemo Paul, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Tevin Imlach,
Vishaul Singh, Akshaya Persaud, Veerasammy Permaul, Anthony Bramble, Gudakesh Motie,
Nial Smith, Demetri Cameron, Antony Adams, Kevin Sinclair, Ronsford Beaton.
Jamaica Scorpions: John Campbell (Captain), Nkrumah Bonner, Jermaine Blackwood,
Leroy Lugg, Oraine Williams, Aldaine Thomas, Gordon Bryan, Paul Palmer Jr., Jamie Merchant, Marquino Mindley, Nicholson Gordon,
Derval Green, Patrick Harty, Kirk McKenzie, Brandon King.
Leeward Islands Hurricanes:
Rahkeem Cornwall (Captain), Hayden Walsh Jr., Devon Thomas, Amir Jangoo, Kieran Powell, Colin Archibald, Terence Warde, Jeremiah Louis, Keacy Carty, Sheno Berridge, Daniel Doram, Damion Williams, Ross Powell, Kian Pemberton.
Trinidad & Tobago Red Force:
Imran Khan (Captain), Jason Mohammed,
Jeremy Solozano, Isaiah Rajah, Khary Pierre, Shannon Gabriel, Darren Bravo, Jayden Seales, Bryan Charles, Yannic Cariah, Akeal Hosein, Uthman Muhammad, Anderson Phillip,
Keagan Simmons, Joshua Da Silva.
Windward Islands Volcanoes: Kavem Hodge (Captain), Keron Cottoy, Denis Smith,
Devon Smith, Ackeem Auguste, Alick Athanaze, Alick Athanaze, Daurius Martin, Desron Maloney, Josh Thomas, Kenneth, Dember, Kimani Melius, Preston McSween, Shermon Lewis,
Teddy Bishop, Larry Edward.