DAVID Furlonge, coach of the TT Red Force, is pleased with the discipline shown by his players during their three practice matches at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Tarouba.
On December 16, the Imran Khan XI hammered the Denesh Ramdin XI by nine wickets in the first practice match, but the Ramdin XI responded two days later with a 50-run win in a rain-affected second practice match.
And, on Monday, rain forced the abandonment of the third practice match at Tarouba.
The Red Force players are preparing for the 2021 Regional Super50 Cup, which will take place from February 4-27 in Antigua.
Asked about his main takeaway from the practice games, Furlonge, during an interview on Tuesday, replied, “The (players’) discipline, the way they went about the tasks that they had to do. I think everybody performed creditably.
“We’re now in the half-way stage of preparation,” he added. “I think we have good things to look forward to next year.”
Reflecting on the three matches at Tarouba, Furlonge said, “Things went good. We saw improvements with every game. It’s unfortunate that the rains fell (on Monday). I would have liked to see the challenge that the (Khan XI faced) in that they got off to a slow start. (I wanted) to see what total they would have gotten.”
The Red Force coach continued, “We need to do work in the fielding department, we’re a bit lax there, we dropped a couple catches. The batting is coming on, which is good. It’s the first time the fellas getting out in the middle. We see about three (to) five batsmen getting some good totals.
“The bowling is coming along. We bowled seven or eight wides in one game which is unacceptable. We need to improve on that.”
Furlong said, “All in all, I think the fellas showed good spirits in the field. I didn’t see anybody looking tired from being out on the field, that shows good fitness levels. We’re just hoping to continue improving from there.”
At least six Red Force players are in quarantine (Darren Bravo, Shannon Gabriel, Joshua Da Silva from the West Indies Test team; Rayad Emrit, Akeal Hosein and Khary Pierre from the US Open T20) while Nicholas Pooran is competing in the Australian Big Bash competition.
Furlonge said, “We’ll have a session on the 4th of January. I believe they come out of their home quarantine on the 1st or 2nd. They will join the team on the 4th (but) they will miss our last two practice (games) on the 28th and 30th (of December).
As far as the fringe players are concerned, Furlonge said, “That is something that we spoke to the players about. We don’t want the fringe players to be dropping their heads.
“The senior players have made themselves available, but it doesn’t mean that they’ll be automatically selected. (The established players) also have to perform and the young players can’t drop their heads and their performances also. Competition, to me, brings out the best in people.”
Furlonge mentioned that the players will undergo a fitness test on Wednesday morning before going for their Christmas break.