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TT selector says Pooran gamble failed

By STEPHON NICHOLAS Tuesday, October 8 2013

DUDNATH Ramkessoon, Chairman of Selectors, Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) has admitted that the gamble to play 17-year-old Nicholas Pooran as a power hitter in the recently concluded Champions League T20 did not pay off.

The left-hander struggled to tally a mere 40 runs from four innings and looked out-of-depth while hitting his highest score of 15 from 14 balls in the semifinal against Mumbai Indians.

Pooran, who caught everyone’s eye with a whirlwind knock of 54 from 24 balls for the Red Steel in their opening Caribbean Premier League (CPL) match, scored just 48 more runs in their next seven games as the Red Steel exited at the semifinal stage.

Meanwhile, the right-handed Adrian Barath, who has played in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and did well in the CPL with 135 runs at an average of 22.50, did not play a single game for the Red Force in India.

Asked whether Barath, a batsman with a better technique than Pooran, should have played instead of the teen, Ramkessoon said, “Barath had a better CPL but is not a power hitter. The gamble with Pooran didn’t come off as we expected. He’s a young man and he’s new to this arena. A lot of responsibility was entrusted to him at this level and he didn’t get off as we thought he would. Being inexperienced, it showed up,” he acknowledged.

Nevertheless, Ramkessoon was impressed overall with the showing of the team in their last appearance at the competition.

“I’m happy that the team made it into the semifinal. It’s unfortunate that we lost to the eventual winners but we can be proud of our guys. We showed that we can compete at this level,” he continued. The former national player was impressed with the TT bowlers’ effort throughout the campaign, stating, “The bowlers did their job, given that we have three of the better T20 bowlers in the world (Ravi Rampaul, Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree). We did suffer as a result of Rayad Emrit’s not being able to bowl in the semifinal (due to injury) and his absence affected the team but generally we had a good performance,” he said. Ramkessoon also commended his captain Denesh Ramdin for the way he led his charges for the duration of the tourney.

“I think he got it right most of the time and I can’t fault him at all. The players seemed to really respond to him,” he opined.

And with the CPL replacing the country-oriented Caribbean T20 Tournament, Ramkessoon made it clear that the TTCB will not be placing less emphasis on the domestic T20 competition.

“Certainly not. We have our domestic T20 Festival and it will be big again. We can’t deprive the public of this. We want to continue producing players and supply the public with entertainment. When they players do well in the domestic competition, they will catch the eyes of franchise teams,” he declared.

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