TRINBAGO Knight Riders (TKR) team manager Colin Borde said the TT franchise will miss playing in front of the passionate fans at the Queen's Park Oval and Brian Lara Cricket Academy during the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 tournament, but he knows TKR have been strong on the road in past tournaments.
On Tuesday it was announced that the entire 2021 CPL will be played at Warner Park in St Kitts from August 28 until mid-September. St Kitts and Nevis have recorded less than 50 cases of covid19 with no deaths. Last year the entire tournament was played in Trinidad with matches at Queen's Park Oval in St Clair and Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba.
Unlike last year fans will be allowed to attend matches at 50 per cent capacity, but they must be vaccinated. Warner Park has a seating capacity of 8,000.
Responding to Newsday via Whatsapp messages, Borde said, "If the fans are allowed to the games that would be great for all concerned. Fans are the lifeblood of all sports. Fans bring the vibe."
Trinidad is known for electric crowds during the CPL which serves as the 12th man for TKR. This year will be the first time TKR will not play in front of its home crowd since the tournament began in 2013.
Borde is confident that TKR, four-time winners of the tournament, can deliver on the road. "We have always had a good travel record."
In 2018, TKR showed its pedigree on the road. After a slow start at home, TKR won four matches away from home which is instrumental to the team's championship run that year.
"Of course we would love to be playing at home as most of our players are from TT, but we will focus on the job at hand and plan accordingly. We are all familiar with the conditions at Warner Park."
The groundsmen at Warner Park may have a tough task to ensure the outfield and the wicket maintain a high standard throughout the tournament. A total of 33 matches will be played at the venue. The six franchises will not be allowed to train at Warner Park to maintain the quality of the ground.
"It's a lot of cricket to be played (at one venue) and we are sure that the requisite preparation will be given. The squad will be chosen as usual with all the playing conditions in mind."
Asked if St Kitts and Nevis Patriots will have an advantage as the entire tournament will be played in St Kitts, Borde said, "We certainly hope not, but when all the teams have been chosen then the cricket will be played out on the field and not in the mind. If there are crowds allowed St Kitts will have their home support and that helps any home team, but we shall see when it gets closer."
Borde is anticipating another exciting CPL tournament. "This year as always will be a keenly contested year and as usual we all look forward to another CPL thriller."