Champions League 2013

Domestic T20 giants' last chance at global glory

Renaldo Matadeen

September 19, 2013

Comments: 22 | Text size: A | A

Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo lift their captain Denesh Ramdin, Guyana v Trinidad & Tobago, Caribbean T20, final, St Lucia, January 20, 2013
Can Trinidad & Tobago take their domestic form to the world stage without Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard? © WICB Media
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Overview
Trinidad & Tobago have dominated the West Indies T20 circuit for years. From the Stanford T20 series in 2008* which launched them to the Champions League T20, the guile has been evident. Their players form the core of the current World T20 champions, West Indies, and the now-defunct Caribbean T20 regional tournament was their sandbox. Earlier this year, T&T once again steamrolled to the title of the tournament that has now been replaced by the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), and as far as the Champions League goes, the question remains - can the 'Red Force' transfer their imperious domestic form to the world stage?

In 2009, they were close but fell one win short of the title. New South Wales edged them out in the final of this tournament and since then, they've shown flashes of brilliance, bar the 2010 tournament when Guyana represented the region. This inconsistent, and at times disappointing showing, may be due to the fact that T&T's two talismans, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo, usually find themselves with their IPL units. T&T do seem to rely on them a bit too much. However, depth has always been the focus for Denesh Ramdin's team. Ramdin has a tough task ahead to build on the foundation laid by Daren Ganga in the past but the blend of youth and experience in the T&T ranks is something that West Indian fans, as seen in Sri Lanka in 2012, will no doubt be throwing their weight behind.

Given West Indies' regional T20 competition has been replaced by the franchise-based CPL, this is the team's last chance at glory as a bona fide regional unit.

Key players
Lendl Simmons garnered 266 runs at an average of 33.25 to finish second in the CPL's scoring charts as his Guyana outfit fell to Jamaica in the final. However, after being a bit-part player in the World T20 title acquisition, Simmons will be looking to show how dangerous he is in this format. His recent West Indies performances have shown he's one of their more consistent short-format batsmen, even outclassing Chris Gayle as of late.

Sunil Narine's stats in all formats of the game exemplify how stifling and economical a bowler he is. As a mercurial spinner who negates the opposition's scoring, West Indies always look frail without him. The same can be said for T&T, who would be relieved that he's not with Kolkata Knight Riders at present. With Dwayne Bravo and Pollard out, Narine is a huge plus, especially as his late CPL and West Indies form, both left something to be desired. With that in mind, he doesn't have the 'mystery spinner' tag for fun.

Surprise package

Many touted Nicholas Pooran's one innings of 54 against Guyana Amazon Warriors in the CPL as why the teenager will be the shocker in the CLT20, once included. But that was one innings. Rayad Emrit finished fifth among the CPL wicket-takers with 10 scalps and while he has evolved more from an allrounder to a bowler, his regional performances for T&T have shown that with the extra push, a West Indies spot beckons. The stage is set and Emrit's ready to embrace it.

Weaknesses

Missing Dwayne Bravo and Pollard is the obvious dent in the armour. Their runs, fielding ability and bowling skills leave the team lacking in big departments. It's shown that without them, things crumble, more often than not. With Samuel Badree and Narine spinning their magic, there's the question of who will be leading the pace. Ravi Rampaul is fighting back from an ankle injury and has missed the last few months of cricket while Shannon Gabriel is still learning his trade and has proven to be wayward and inexperienced at times. This pace deficit could bother them at the worst time.

*17.15GMT, September 19: The article had said the Stanford T20 series happened in 2009. This has been corrected.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (September 22, 2013, 0:27 GMT)

I don't think that they are missing anyone but Pollard, who is in good form since CPL. Bravo has been suspect for some time now as a QUALITY all rounder, and Cooper has not been a match winner for anyone recently.

Still, the bowling is thin at best as Rampaul is coming off injury, Badree has lost his way, and Narine is not himself since injuries against Pakistan. Forget Pooran, for one innings of good hitting has not since been repeated. They will do well to win two games...

Posted by   on (September 21, 2013, 4:49 GMT)

Trinidad's cricket team in 2009 proved that they can go to the Finals.But they had Darren Ganga to lead them.Although he did not do well with the bat, he provided fantastic leadership to the team.This time, the team will be handicapped without Dwayne Bravo,Pollard and Cooper. But they still have a strong bowling line up, assuming that Ravi Rampaul will be fit to play. Best luck to T&T.

Posted by   on (September 21, 2013, 3:09 GMT)

By choice or chance, Otago has got its full strength side and looks really dangerous going by current form... looks like they are serious contenders for the title!

Posted by AjberPukkaattupady on (September 21, 2013, 2:55 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster: Cricket is lasting just because it hold the national spirit. Once it gone, its all over, Bravo Pollard are my favourits just because they are west indians..

Posted by   on (September 20, 2013, 19:40 GMT)

Bravo and pollard have so much money now thtas no excuse. they have shown time and time again they are not loyal to trinidad or to west indies. please do not pick them again in the future! and also we are missing kevon cooper. that is also a big blow

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (September 20, 2013, 19:13 GMT)

@Nikko Chunn: Dude, you are not sure about what you are talking about. Brendon McCullum is clearly representing Otago BECAUSE his IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders didn't make it to the CLT20. Otherwise, he would have GLADLY foregone the chance to play for Otago. In fact, Nathan McCullum wanted to play for SRH, but the SRH released him voluntarily because they did NOT need his services. So you see, the players represent their native teams for a reason. Who knows ? A few of the Otago players could be playing for IPL teams next year. Patriotism and loyalty are gimmicks in modern day cricket.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (September 20, 2013, 19:09 GMT)

GUYS... how many times must I repeat that Brendon McCullum is representing Otago ONLY because his IPL team KKR have failed to qualify for this year's CLT20. It has nothing to do with loyalty or patriotism. Pollard and Bravo would have played for T&T if Mumbai did not qualify for the tournament. Some people need to remove their anti-IPL hats and think coherently.

Posted by Samychennai on (September 20, 2013, 10:49 GMT)

@Samdanh, I don't know what kind of sense you have got international level. Did you watch any of soccer championship matches? Three top level teams from EPL will participate in champion league each year. Real Madrid or Barcelona or Manchester United whatever club participating in champion league is mixture of international players. Indian Premier league or Champion league is just copy of Soccer competitions. Don't confuse between world cup and club level championship matches. Thank you!

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Tournament Results
Mum Indians v Royals at Delhi - Oct 6, 2013
Mum Indians won by 33 runs
Trinidad & T v Mum Indians at Delhi - Oct 5, 2013
Mum Indians won by 6 wickets (with 5 balls remaining)
Royals v Super Kings at Jaipur - Oct 4, 2013
Royals won by 14 runs
Super Kings v Trinidad & T at Delhi - Oct 2, 2013
Trinidad & T won by 8 wickets (with 29 balls remaining)
Mum Indians v Scorchers at Delhi - Oct 2, 2013
Mum Indians won by 6 wickets (with 40 balls remaining)
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