Ramdin, Narine seek support of 'home' crowd
Guyana Amazon Warriors' Denesh Ramdin and Sunil Narine have said they are ready to upset what would usually be their home crowd at Port-of-Spain's Queen's Park Oval. Both players said the franchise comes first now, which augurs well for the development of the game regionally and for franchise cricket in general.
"It's always good to play against these guys [Red Steel] because it's a high-level competition. I know the home crowd will be backing them strongly but I am sure they will also support us on the Warriors. Trinidad & Tobago fans just love good cricket," Ramdin said, alluding to himself, Narine and Lendl Simmons - all of whom have been in solid form thus far in the CPL.
Ramdin said their presence did reduce the potential home team advantage of the Red Steel. "We're all friends off the pitch and we love our country but tomorrow it's business on the field," he said.
Ramdin believes Martin Guptill's form, despite some injury concerns, will be key for the team's run in the tournament but also talked up fellow New Zealander, Jimmy Neesham. "Jimmy's one of the best talents around. We know a lot about him as we played against him in the Caribbean recently and he's a great cricketer. He's adapted well with us," he said.
The sentiments were echoed by Narine who praised Neesham's contributions as well as Mohammad Hafeez's presence as one which gives '"us more experience and all-round balance".
Ramdin highlighted Narine's progress as another trump card in the T20 game along with the emergence of Krishmar Santokie, whose career has ascended from an impressive 2013 CPL into a regular spot in the West Indies T20 team. These bowlers as well as Simmons' hard-hitting batting gave Ramdin the confidence that they would be able to upset Red Steel.
Narine said he was riding a T20 high following his tournament-winning exploits with Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL and believes that the improved Caribbean pitches would be beneficial to him, and Veerasammy Permaul. With his recent IPL vs West Indies issue under the bridge, he added that he was focused on the job at hand. "I think the [Amazon] Warriors have a really great chance once more. We've been doing well so far, winning three out of four, and even the loss was relatively close. We're looking forward first to the Red Steel game because we have a lot tied to that team," Narine said.
Renaldo Matadeen is a sportswriter and social media manager for ESPN Caribbean. @RenaldoMatadeen