TT Red Force coach David Furlonge wants his players, especially those who have been on the sidelines for months, to stay motivated despite the uncertainty surrounding the West Indies Four-Day Championships.
Earlier this year Cricket West Indies (CWI) were targeting April for the start of the four-day tournament, but nothing has been confirmed yet by the regional cricket board.
The regional four-day tournament is normally held throughout the region, but the covid19 pandemic has forced CWI to search for other arrangements.
One possibility that CWI considered was holding matches in Trinidad and Barbados.
The Red Force have shown form this year by winning the Super50 tournament led by West Indies 50-Over and T20 captain Kieron Pollard. The team was loaded with experience and talent including Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Nicholas Pooran, Evin Lewis and Ravi Rampaul.
The team resumed training on Wednesday after a short break for Easter. Speaking to Newsday on Wednesday about the first training session, Furlonge said, “It was good, a little disappointed (with) the players fitness so we have to work on that the next week or so.”
Discussing the players mindset because of the doubt surrounding the four-day tournament, Furlonge said, “We spoke about it today (Wednesday). It is touch and go now, you don’t know what is happening. The players have to work hard (because) you still have things like (Red Force) contracts coming up. If anything you have a good opportunity to prepare for the next Super50 tournament which might be somewhere in November. You have a six-month period to prepare for that in terms of getting players fit and ready.”
CEO of CWI Johnny Grave said a possible board meeting after this Sunday’s Annual General Meeting will decide whether the West Indies Four-Day Championships will be played in the coming months.
In February the CG Insurance Super50 tournament was successfully hosted in Antigua.
In a Whatsapp message to Newsday on Tuesday, Grave said, “We are still in discussions with the territorial boards, West Indies Players Association and Ministries of Health to investigate and understand what will be possible this year in terms of the West Indies (Four-Day) Championship.”
Grave said a meeting may be held following the AGM.
“I imagine we will have a board meeting in a couple of weeks time after the AGM so (we) will announce our plans once we have board approval of any recommendations that we make.”
On having a four-day tournament, Furlonge said, “Hopefully there have some type of cricket because it’s hard for fellas to be training. Besides the fellas who went to the Super50 tournament we have players training since October last year.”
He added, “Players have to sort of motivate themselves to continue to work hard and perform well in the selectors eyes.”
Several young players have been on the sidelines for months because all the senior players made themselves available for the Super50 tournament. Players such as Tion Webster, Keagan Simmons, Jyd Goolie, Jeremy Solozano, Uthman Muhammad and Cephas Cooper have all played for Red Force in the past, but could not find a place on the Super50 team as all the senior players were available.