Defending UWI T20 champions Cane Farm are desperate to retain their title this year and win the $35,000 grand prize which will go a long way in financing the remainder of their 2018 season.
The UWI T20 tournament, which bowls off on Thursday and runs until January 20, will feature Cane Farm, Merry Boys, Powergen, Central Sports, Club Crusoe (Tobago), Munroe Road, Alescon Comets and UWI.
Speaking to Newsday yesterday, Cane Farm manager Kerwin Simmons said the club has not been receiving financial support from the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) in a timely manner. As a result, Kerwin said the prize money the club received for winning last year helped them survive a difficult 2017 cricket season. “The money we are playing for (in this year’s UWI tournament), it’s that money got us through last season.
We just got the money promised by the (TT cricket) board, we just got the balance a couple days ago and that was for the 2017 season. If we did not have that (UWI T20 money), we would not have made it through the (2017) season,” he said.
Cane Farm does not have any sponsors but gets help from West Indies cricketer Lendl Simmons who is a member of the club.
Cane Farm won last year’s competition with a star-studded line-up featuring a number of national cricketers including Denesh Ramdin, Lendl Simmons, Rayad Emrit, Evin Lewis and Imran Khan.
The team manager is uncertain if all the top players will be available this year because the UWI competition is clashing with the Regional Four-Day tournament. Also, some players may not be available due to personal reasons and injury. Kerwin said Cane Farm have some young talent available and he is hoping they can show their worth when it counts.
“Akil Seetal who played with the Trinidad and Tobago Under-19 (team) and who was called on the (2016) West Indies Under-19 (training squad), Tevon Jadoo who played with Trinidad and Tobago Under-19s, and Anthony Simmons who played with Trinidad and Tobago Under-19s, all of them need to step up.”
Kerwin said the tournament is an opportunity for players to make a name for themselves. Last year Guyanese left-handed batsman Gajanand Singh of Demerara shot into the spotlight after a brilliant tournament which led to him playing for the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the 2017 Caribbean Premier League.
“Remember if you look at Gajanand Singh, he was not playing for Guyana before that UWI T20 tournament, and after UWI, he got a break for Guyana and he got to play in the CPL.
It is a place to showcase your talent because plenty people watch that tournament.”