HEAD coach of the TT Red Force, Mervyn Dillon, has expressed dissatisfaction over the squad he was given to work with for the Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 Cup, particularly in the pace department. The 11-time champs exited at the semi-final stage yet again following a four-wicket loss to the Leewards and Dillon felt a lack of fast-bowling options hurt them as his squad only had Anderson Phillip and Odean Smith.
“I had two fast bowlers in my squad which is something I spoke about before the squad was selected. When you have a squad with only two fast bowlers, that was something I wasn’t happy with at all,” he said after the loss. Red Force failed to defend 268 despite the Leewards facing a run-rate of 10 an over prior to the 40th, which saw Jahmar Hamilton plunder 78 off 34 to take his team home, including 26 off skipper Imran Khan in that pivotal over.
Hamilton and Kacey Carty (53 off 69 with four fours and one six) smashed a spin-heavy Red Fore all over the Queen’s Park Oval, with Dillon’s job even more difficult as Smith was dropped, and Phillip and Tion Webster – a part-time pacer – both going off injured in the match.
“The sad thing is I didn’t have another option. If I had an option, obviously it’s something I would have looked at. It was always going to be tough,” Dillon lamented, reiterating he went into the tournament with one pacer ready and one who “wasn’t doing so well.”
Nonetheless, Dillon said they shouldn’t be looking for excuses and had no one to blame but themselves after they were poised to cross 300 at one point before Webster (91) threw away his knock.
“Obviously it’s disappointing... I thought we could have gotten a few more runs. It was definitely a really good wicket to bat on ...We were a few runs short. But when you look at where we got ourselves into when we bowled and conceded 40-plus runs in a couple overs, I think that’s where they knocked the sails out from under us. It was well played by Hamilton, a really top innings. He hit the ball crisp and well, so congrats to the Leewards Islands. They played better on the day and deserved to win,” he said.
Dillon’s spinners did the trick for the entire tournament but apart from this bowling conundrum, he also wants his players to improve on fielding and running in between the wickets.
“Catches win matches,” is something he stressed on, pointing to Bravo dropping Hamilton on 33 with the Leewards on 202. “We’ve been talking about it. We’ve been working on it in terms of our catching and the fact that we’ve been consistently dropping catches is not a good thing for us... It’s something of a concern,” Dillon said.
The coach was pleased, however, to see youngsters such as Keagan Simmons coming to the fore and said he and fellow opener Jeremy Solozano will form the core of the batting moving forward. Webster’s slated to play with Barbados for the four-day competition but, Dillon is still hoping the batsman could represent them after coming over for this series on loan. He also hopes Red Force preparations will be better next time, condemning the lack of trial matches and bad weather before the competition as detrimental.