COACH of the TT Red Force Mervyn Dillon says his team is quietly confident ahead of its opening match in the Colonial Medical Super50 Cup against Windward Islands Volcanoes, at the Queen’s Park Oval in St Clair, from 1.30 pm today.
Guyana Jaguars will play West Indies Emerging Players simultaneously at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, in Tarouba.
Yesterday, after a training session at the Oval, Dillon said, “It is the start of the tournament, so you want to start well. I am really excited because the guys have put in some work, the guys who have been around...the senior guys being around (and) you have some of the younger guys coming in to get an opportunity.”
Red Force will have the experience of captain Imran Khan, Jason Mohammed and Darren Bravo. Youngsters Jeremy Solozano, Keagan Simmons and Tion Webster will be aiming to make a name for themselves.
Dillon, who has been coaching the Red Force since the beginning of 2019, is happy with Khan’s leadership in training, but knows he needs support.
“The captain seems to have settled in really good because he has been around a very long time. One of the things that he understands is, the team is as good as his players, and the captain has tried to emphasise that in the meeting just now. So we look forward and we are quietly confident about our game tomorrow (today).”
The team’s fitness may determine some of the results, especially in the latter half of the group stage, with an intense schedule. Red Force will play eight games in 19 days during the preliminary phase of the tournament before the semifinals bowl off on November 28.
Dillon, who told Newsday recently he was satisfied with the team’s fitness, also wants the team to be mentally strong.
“It is going to be challenging (with the schedule)...I think one of the things I stress about is, I have noticed the guys seem to fold every time we are challenged in the field. He said he would continue to remind playes, “That is when we need to play our best cricket – when we are challenged – because that is the game.
“For me it is to continue to push them mentally. I think that is where our shortfall is and I think generally around the Caribbean.”
Fast bowler Odean Smith has recovered from the flu and fellow pacer Anderson Phillip has a niggle on his elbow but Dillon said, “Everybody is resting, ready and raring to go.”
TT Red Force vs Windward Islands Volcanoes, Queen’s Park Oval
Guyana Jaguars vs West Indies Emerging Players, Brian Lara Cricket Academy
TT Red Force
Imran Khan (captain), Kyle Hope, Jeremy Solozano, Darren Bravo, Jason Mohammed, Keagan Simmons, Jon Ross Jagessar, Steven Katwaroo, Akeal Hosein, Yannick Ottley, Odean Smith, Anderson Phillip, Isaiah Rajah, Tion Webster, Mervyn Dillon (coach), David Furlonge (manager)
Windward Islands Volcanoes
Alick Athanaze, Keron Cottoy, Dillon Douglas, Larry Edward, Kirk Edwards, Kavem Hodge, Ryan John, Ray Jordan, Shermon Lewis, Desron Maloney, Shane Shillingford, Devon Smith, Emmanuel Stewart, Bhaskar Yadram Andrew Richardson (head coach), Junior Murray (assistant coach), Mario Christopher (physio)