Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) manager Colin Borde anticipates an exciting Caribbean Premier League (CPL) draft, which gets underway on Wednesday – virtually, owing to the global pandemic.
The local franchise has already retained nine players from last year’s tournament and signed one new player ahead of the draft.
Borde believes striking the right player-balance is key to returning the coveted CPL trophy to the arms of the TKR faithful.
“There is always great anticipation around the CPL draft.
"We would normally have a few plans. We need to work out possible scenarios and with a bit of luck, we’ll get the balance that we want. Everyone wants to play. It's been a few months for them all. They are raring to go. We are here to be champions again. We want it,” said the TKR manager.
In early May, TKR retained former captain Dwayne Bravo, who missed the entire 2019 CPL because of a finger injury, and Kieron Pollard, who served as skipper in Bravo’s absence. Other players retained were Sunil Narine, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Khary Pierre, Amir Jangoo, Tion Webster and Akeal Hosein.
Pacer Jayden Seales has also been signed by the local franchise. Seales and Jangoo both serve as TKR’s emerging players.
Two-time CPL winner with TKR and experienced wicketkeeper/batsman Denesh Ramdin was not retained by the franchise. Ramdin spent the last four years representing TKR but will play for the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots at this year’s edition.
Once the TT government gives permission to host the competition locally, there is a high possibility matches will be played behind closed doors owing to the restrictions on gatherings. Even since the phased reopening, it is still unclear whether patrons will be allowed to view matches live.
With the tourney approximately six weeks away, the possibility of matches being played at empty stadiums still hangs in the balance.
Although Borde admits safety remains top priority, the spectators would be dearly missed.
“We will abide by the rules and be safe but certainly there is no substitute for the passion and energy that crowds bring. That twelfth man has always spurred us on during the tough times and driven us to greater heights in the good times.
“Hopefully along the way, it would be great to have fans enjoying in person and being part of the drama that is CPL but it's important that we think safety first always for the players and country,” he added.
Borde hopes the familiarity of home turf, once the government gives the all-clear, plays an integral role towards the team’s performances. He believes the ten local players retained should provide a slim competitive advantage. It is the squad’s intention to hoist the trophy once more.
“We have ten players from Trinidad who are very familiar with the conditions here, so that will be of great help to us once we use our knowledge wisely.
"We didn't get over the line last year, and did some introspection. Our intention each year is to be better than the last in every sphere, both on and off the field. We are driven to excellence. Always.”