TT Red Force coach Mervyn Dillon may be pleased with his batsmen at the moment but he is expecting much more consistency from them if they're to win the West Indies Championship this season. Following a lopsided innings and 168-run win over Leeward Islands Hurricanes on Sunday at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Tarouba, Dillon said composure will be the key to this campaign which shifts away to Guyana next. TT started the tournament with a draw against Jamaica Scorpions and this win in their first two games at home.
Red Force made 552 for nine declared against Leewards with skipper Darren Bravo thumping 133, Terrance Hinds grabbing his maiden First Class century with a rapid 102 off 77 deliveries and Joshua Da Silva making 80, his second consecutive half-century. However, the coach wasn't satisfied with fifties and batters such as Jason Mohammed (66) and Yannic Cariah (46) throwing away their knocks carelessly.
"One of the things I always stressed on, is the guys putting a high price on their wicket. Even with the runs we're scoring, I still thought Jason and a couple others gave away their hand. That is how hard I am going to be," Dillon said.
He said converting into hundreds remains the expected standard and laid the challenge for batsmen to remain not out. "That is what I ask of the guys, whoever is in there stays in and gets the job done."
Nonetheless, Dillon lauded his batters in the wake of a 450-plus total against Jamaica, with the squad now batting just twice this season after posting mammoth first innings scores. "As I said, it is good to see everybody getting some runs and for me, it's a really good thing going into the Guyana game that most of my batters, and even Terrance down the order, played exceptionally well."
However, Dillon lamented the team's propensity for dropping catches. "Obviously we're not there in terms of the kind of cricket we want to play. I'm a little disappointed in the way we're catching, so that's something we have to work on. It's still very early in the tournament. (But) we're going to have to spend a lot more time in the field if we're going to win this tournament, trying to get 20 wickets."
Dillon said he is excited to see what his bowlers can conjure against Guyana, particularly left arm orthodox spinner Akeal Hosein, who now has 15 scalps in the competition, including six for 62 and two for 32 in this match. He thinks once his batsmen keep doing their job as well, it will alleviate pressure on his wicket-takers.
"Akeal Hosein was excellent in the way he bowled, as well as Odean Smith (four for 51) in the first innings. I am really, really happy with how things are and I love that the big scores are on the board. I think that is clinical if we want to win this tournament. With the way we're batting and the scores the guys are putting up, it makes it a lot easier for the bowlers in terms of not having to panic and giving them chances to express themselves," he said.
As for changes for the Guyana game at Guyana National Stadium, Providence, Dillon said a pitch assessment would be required before determining if they'll use the same line-up. He said with their depth this season, performing players still ran the risk of missing out due to team rotation and strategies to ensure "efficient decision-making" on the field.