TT RED Force coach Kelvin Williams and captain Denesh Ramdin both lamented the consistent batting woes of their team, following a 245-run hammering by the Leeward Islands in their West Indies Four Day Championship Third Round match.
Set a victory target of 342 yesterday, at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, the Red Force, who began the day on 26 without loss, were bundled out for 96, shortly before lunch, with opener Jeremy Solozano offering lone resistance with 42. In the Red Force’s first innings total of 252, Solozano was the leading scorer with 80.
This defeat was the Red Force’s second in this 2018-2019 competition, and sixth on the trot, dating back to midway in the 2017-2018 season.
Williams, in a post-game interview, said, “We’re disappointed with the way we finished the game. We were looking to bat all day. To know that we were all out at lunch-time, I thought was very disappointing for myself, and perhaps the whole team.”
But Williams, the ex-national all-rounder, refused to entertain any thought of his position as Red Force coach being under threat.
“It’s a difficult question to answer,” he said. “I’ll just stay away from it.”
Ramdin returned to the team after the West Indies tour of Bangladesh. However, he notched 31 in the first innings and a duck in the second.
“Our bowlers fought hard on that wicket,” said the ex-WI captain. “But losing six wickets in a morning session (on Sunday) was unacceptable. Then (yesterday) losing all ten wickets for under 100 runs, as a professional unit, is not acceptable.
“Guys have to take more ownership, especially some of the senior guys. Look at (Jeremy) Solozano, he batted really well. It’s for guys to get starts.”
Ramdin added, “It’s all about appreciation of yourselves in the middle – giving ourselves time. Nobody is batting two sessions or anything like that. Getting out in one session and the other team is getting four sessions and not giving our bowlers rest is not doing ourselves justice.”
The 22-year-old Solozano, who made 104 in the Red Force’s opening game against the Windward Islands Volcanoes at Tarouba last month, received plaudits from his coach and captain.
Williams said, “Solozano showed us how to do it, in both innings. The rest of batsmen need to take a page out of his book and do what he’s doing.”
According to Ramdin, “(Solozano’s) batting well. Hopefully he’ll grow from strength to strength. He’s applying himself so (I hope) the other batters give him that support. I think he could get a couple more centuries.”
Experienced left-hander Darren Bravo is expected to return for the Red Force’s next match away to the Jamaica Scorpions on Thursday.
“I expect that he would come in and shoulder some of the batting with Jeremy,” said the Red Force coach. “We need somebody like Darren. We hope that he could fit the bill because of the batting problems that we’re having at this present time.”
Another player who returned to the Red Force line-up to face the Hurricanes was WI fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, who picked up three wickets in each innings.
Williams said, “I’ve got to be honest, I actually commended him for his performance. Every single time the captain called on him, he was putting in the effort.”
According to Ramdin, “With his experience, on a flat wicket, (he was) beating guys with pace, bowling really well.”
Looking ahead to the next game against the Scorpions, Williams said, “I thought the bowling (did) a fantastic job. It’s time now for the batters to win games, they haven’t done that for quite a while. We’re going to Jamaica, it’s going to be a very important game for us.”
The Red Force will leave for Jamaica today and Ramdin said, “We’ll try to take some positives from this game, try to stay together as a team because there’s not much cricket playing at this time where you can drop guys and bring in (reserves). Hopefully the guys can put in a lot more work in the nets.”