UNBEATEN champions Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) will be looking to make it five wins in a row and complete a home and away beating of St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, when the teams clash at 6pm today at Warner Park, St Kitts.
TKR, although rolling so far in the 2019 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) campaign, have not had it as easy as their record suggests and were dealt another blow when their express pace bowler Mohammad Hasnain had his No-Objection Certificate revoked by the Pakistan Cricket Board.
Speaking to Newsday yesterday, captain Kieron Pollard acknowledged the tough task he faces this CPL with the unpredictability of the line-up each match. TKR have been hit by the absence of several key players through a combination of injury and international duty. After missing four star players (Dwayne Bravo, Darren Bravo, Colin Munro and Ali Khan) to start the tournament, TKR have Darren, Munro and Khan back in the squad and are sitting comfortably joint top of the standings.
Hasnain’s absence is another “mystery” ball hurled at Pollard and the rest of TKR’s management team, who will have to now reshuffle a winning line-up.
Hasnain, who has made a quite an impression on his CPL debut, has been the quickest bowler for CPL, clocking 150 km/h and grabbing six wickets from four games. Darren, who missed the start of the tournament with a concussion, is healthy and available and is likely to be inserted in the line-up.
“Obviously it is (challenging). The plan was (Dwayne) Bravo captaining and certain guys being available. Injury is something you can’t really control but we’ve done a good job moving on and not harping on the ‘what if,’” Pollard said.
Already without Dwayne, the new skipper revealed TKR is contemplating bringing in a bowler to fill Hasnain’s void.
“We’ll have to bring in a player. It’s conversations we’re having so far but we don’t want to rush in to anything.”
Facing the Patriots, who are third in the standings, Pollard said TKR will stick to the plans that worked well for them in their 11-run victory on September 4 at the Queen’s Park Oval.
Asked whether there will be special plans for Patriots opener Evin Lewis, who leads the St Kitts’ franchise with 175 runs this CPL, Pollard played down the threat of Lewis.
“We had plans for him in our first game. I don’t see anything changing. We will try to get him early and if not, contain him.”
On the impact of Colin Munro, who blazed 94 in his first CPL 2019 match for TKR on Friday, Pollard lauded the New Zealander, who was the top CPL scorer in 2018.
“He’s been great for TKR. He showed why TKR has kept faith with him over the years. To score 94 in his first game and then run around in the field, what more can you ask from an overseas pro?”