LAST year's Trinbago Knight Riders breakthrough spinner Khary Pierre says losing fellow spinner Fawad Ahmed was a huge blow, but praised the selection panel for equipping the team with a squad capable of another championship run when the 2019 Caribbean Premier League bowls off in September.
Ahmed ended the 2018 tournament as the top wicket taker with 22 wickets in 13 matches at an impressive economy rate of 6.18 for TKR last year. St Lucia Stars bought Ahmed in round two of the draft on Wednesday.
Pierre said, "Well Fawad is a world class spinner so he would be missed on any team, but having said that, I think the selection panel did a great job at the draft to make sure the team is equipped to do what it takes to win a championship."
TKR will be trying to capture a hat-trick of titles when the tournament takes place from September 4 to October 12. Pierre had a memorable campaign in 2018 finishing with 11 wickets in seven matches at an economy rate of 5.65, the lowest among bowlers who took at least three wickets in the tournament. Pierre and off spinner Sunil Narine are expected to lead the spin attack this year.
Pierre was not a consistent member of the starting team in 2018, but more responsibility is expected to be given to him because of the departure of Ahmed.
"With the set up of the team, if I'm given the opportunity to do so I would do it to the best of my ability. Given the nature of the game, no one spot is secured. Different roles may be required for different games, so it is just about doing my best when I'm called upon and leaving it up to the selection panel."
Discussing his goals for the upcoming tournament, the left-arm spinner just wants to be a key member of TKR.
"(My goals are) to perform every time I get the opportunity and help the team in the best way possible."
One of the top signings for TKR at the draft was Trinidadian Kieron Pollard, who would be playing for the local franchise for the first time after lining up for Barbados Tridents and St Lucia Stars previously.
Pierre is elated with the addition of Pollard saying, "It's a fantastic addition to our team. He is a world class player and (one) of the best T20 players in the world, any team in the world would be happy to have him in their team. I couldn't be more pleased to be suiting up alongside a player of his calibre."
The Jamaica Tallawahs, winners of the tournament on two occasions, are expected to be among the top teams to challenge TKR for the crown. The Tallawahs have a powerful batting line-up with the likes of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Glenn Phillips, Rovman Powell and Chadwick Walton in the squad. Pierre, however, believes all the teams are in with a chance.
"I think all the teams are good and have a great chance to win the tournament. Given the nature of T20, any team can show up on the day and win, so we can't take any team lightly. Any time we cross those ropes and step on the park we must try and play our best cricket."