CAPTAIN Denesh Ramdin is keen on maintaining the core group of TT Red Force players for the 2019-2020 season.
The Red Force finished fourth in the six-team 2018-2019 West Indies Four Day Championship with a tally of 112.4 points.
In an interview on Sunday, after the Red Force’s 85-run victory over the Jamaica Scorpions in their final 2018-2019 Four Day Championship match at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, Ramdin said, “I don’t want to change and use 30-40 players in a season, we want (about) 20 players and we’ll give them more experience, exposure and chances to win games.
“Hopefully we can (stick to) these guys going forward and next year would be a better season for us.”
He does not foresee much changes to the Red Force team ahead of the 2019-2020 draft.
“I don’t think we need anything (new),” he said. “We have all the power we need, we have pacers, we have spinners, we have batsmen. It’s just for us to be consistent.”
Sunday’s victory was the first for the Red Force, at the first-class level, at the Tarouba venue.
“It’s always good to win cricket games especially one at this venue,” said the ex-West Indies captain and wicket-keeper. “We haven’t won any games here and (against the Scorpions) I think we played some good cricket. I think Brandon King (who made a valiant 133 in the Scorpions’ second innings) batted exceptionally well but the fight from the guys was exceptional throughout the four days.
He touched on the performances of batsman Jason Mohammed, who made 94 and 110 not out in the respective innings, pacer Anderson Phillip (who grabbed his first five-wicket haul) and seasoned campaigners Shannon Gabriel, Imran Khan and Lendl Simmons.
“Jason Mohammed putting up his hand (and) batting extremely well, it would have been nice for hundreds back-to-back but we would take that any day,” noted Ramdin. “Anderson Phillip, for the entire season, he put up his hand and did the job for the team. Shannon Gabriel, he created good chances and picked up wickets for us. The experience of Imran Khan and Lendl Simmons, they went out there and (brought) the team together.”
Asked how he would assess the season, Ramdin responded, “up-and-down.”
He added, “Two games for the season, the Barbados game (with the Pride chasing 324 to register a fourth-wicket win) and the first game we played for the season here that I was absent for (a 76-run defeat to the Windward Islands Volcanoes at Tarouba), I think those were the two games we could have (done better).
“Having said that, the guys have shown progress which is very important from last (place) to fourth. It’s something to work forward to going into the 2019-2020 season.”
Opener Jeremy Solozano had a steady season, with a tally of 572 runs in 10 matches at an average of 28.6
According to Solozano, “We continue to back him. He’s one of our better players from last year to this year. He showed a lot of maturity. Although he didn’t get the finish that he wanted but we back him.”
Looking at the horizon, Ramdin said, “We have a break (but) we’re going to still stay together as a team, try to train two days a week. Most of us are still on contract and the guys have their weekend cricket to play.”