Champions League 2013 September 19, 2013

Domestic T20 giants' last chance at global glory

Renaldo Matadeen
22

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 Earlier this year, T&T once again steamrolled to the title of the tournament that has now been replaced by the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), and as far as the Champions League goes, the question remains - can the 'Red Force' transfer their imperious domestic form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Given West Indies' regional T20 competition has been replaced by the franchise-based CPL, this is the team's last chance at glory as a bona fide regional unit.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.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb 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...

  • dummy4fb 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.

  • dummy4fb 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!

  • 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..

  • dummy4fb 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • dummy4fb on September 20, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    Once the balance of this team is met they can actually go all the way on this instance. The absence of Pollard, Bravo and Cooper who are all allrounders creates somewhat of a dilemma for the management as a lack of a 6th or even 7th which is normally needed in T20's will be missing as the top six batsmen are not noted bowlers or even considered part-timers. Are they willing to play 5-6 specialists bowlers with the expense of a batsman? Or will they be willing to take the risk and not? The management has a tough time however I believe they will at least make the semis. Watch for for Evin Lewis he could be the surprise package of this tournament. Go Trinidad & Tobago!!!!!!!!!! A side capable of competing in every match with good top4 batsmen who can make it count in this format.Their bowling is their strength with ravi rampauls accuracy and 3spinnesr in narine,badree,ganga.However this side is devoid of match winners like bravo,pollard and cooper and their abscense will only hurt them.

  • dummy4fb on September 20, 2013, 6:57 GMT

    It is not the IPL's fault. Not entirely anyway. I am an Otago fan and a kiwi, and we often forgo the cash for the glory... as mentioned above, with the McCullums, but also with Sangakarra - which caused a fuss with the Sunrisers as the IPL thinks its money should rule the roost. So these 'stars' like Pollard (the yapper who frequently cannot back it up and bowls pies) and Bravo.... all staunch and cool and endlessly overrated..... well, they have just decided to take the cash and not forgo those payments they receive for representing teams like Mumbai and Chennai.... Truth is, they should be ashamed of themselves... and their region should be ashamed of them. Let's not sugar coat it. You live once, yet you make money your priority when you can do something important and lasting? LAME. The Volts have a fairly strong line-up, relatively-speaking, because the players who got them to the title, minus Fuller (due to English club cricket selfishness - another issue), are there for the CLT20.