THE TT Red Force need to win their next two games to stay close to the leading teams in the 2020 West Indies Four-Day Championship title race, according to the chairman of selectors Tony Gray.
Red Force are currently in fourth position among the six teams heading into round four, on Thursday, against third-placed Windward Islands Volcanoes at Windsor Park, Dominica.
The TT franchise started the season positively at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, in Tarouba, with a draw against Jamaica Scorpions and a victory over Leeward Islands Hurricanes by an innings and 168 runs.
Red Force could not carry that form on the road losing by 219 runs to current leaders Guyana Jaguars.
Gray said victories in the two upcoming matches against Volcanoes and Barbados Pride is crucial to stay alive in the title race.
“Again it is about making adjustments, but it is about batting for long. In the first two games we batted for long, we batted once in those games. We want to cement a very good score in the first innings in these two games coming up and then try to win outright because we cannot fall back and lose or draw. I think we obviously will have to go to win and win outright on both occasions.”
Red Force will have a new captain for round four as Darren Bravo has been called up by West Indies for the Sri Lanka series.
Gray was satisfied with Bravo’s leadership of the team in the four-day tournament and before that his form with the bat in the Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 Tournament that ended in December.
“He was one of the most productive batsmen and had the best average I believe (in the Super50).
“When we gave him the captaincy he showed the propensity to lead young players first of all...then he came in the first game against Jamaica on a really good batting track and fantastic batting conditions. We won on first innings, but eventually drew that game and then we won against Leeward Islands.”
Gray said the decision to appoint Yannick Ottley the new captain ahead of the experienced Denesh Ramdin is that the Red Force have to think about the future.
“If you look at the team it is a new dispensation and going forward we need a new captain. Denesh Ramdin has done yeoman service for this country not just as a batsman, but a wicketkeeper and a captain. We have not achieved the type of success (under Ramdin), so we have to go with somebody who has the quality of a leader.”
Gray is calling on the Red Force batsmen to adjust to different batting conditions after the team failed to deliver against the consistent Jaguars.
“Against Guyana, having played two games on a placid and really good batting track at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy (previously), I don’t think batsmen made the adjustments the right way in those conditions in Guyana against what has been the top opposition in regional four-day cricket for five years.”
RED FORCE SQUAD
Yannick Ottley (captain), Denesh Ramdin (wicketkeeper), Jason Mohammed, Jeremy Solozano, Keagan Simmons, Yannic Cariah (vice-captain), Joshua Da Silva, Terrance Hinds, Bryan Charles, Kissoondath Magram, Akeal Hosein, Uthman Muhammad, Daniel St Clair, David Furlonge (manager), Mervyn Dillon (coach)