Trinidad and Tobago RED Force coach David Furlonge is elated that his players are now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel after almost two years without any regional four-day cricket.
There has been no four-day cricket in the region since March 2020 because of the covid19 pandemic.
At the end of March 2020, with two rounds remaining in the season, Cricket West Indies (CWI) brought an end to the tournament.
As a result, Barbados Pride were declared the winners as the first-placed team in the standings.
For almost two years, the Red Force players have been training in hopes of playing cricket.
CWI is targeting early February for the start of the next four-day competition.
Red Force players “see it as the light at the end of the tunnel…they will get an opportunity to show their skills and to perform. They are very happy, they are working very hard, they continue to work hard,” Furlonge said.
To reduce travelling, Barbados Pride, Windward Islands Volcanoes and Jamaica Scorpions will play at home for the first three rounds.
Red Force, Leeward Islands Hurricanes and Guyana Jaguars will travel across those three territories.
TT, Guyana and either St Kitts or Antigua will host matches later on in the competition.
TT, Guyana, Antigua and St Kitts will host matches in the 2022 International Cricket Council Under-19 World Cup from January 14-February 5 and therefore cannot host matches in the early stages of the four-day tournament.
Furlonge agreed that training with no tournaments on the horizon can be demotivating.
The Red Force players have been playing practice matches at multiple venues during the downtime, including Brian Lara Cricket Academy, National Cricket Centre and Queen’s Park Oval.
Furlonge said the batsmen did have some impressive performances. The players are battling for places, he said.
“There is plenty competition. From what we are being told we would be allowed to carry 13 players, so it is plenty competition within the squad.”
Some of the TT players will be on international duty with the West Indies, which may leave the door open for others.
“We would probably have some spots opening up with the India tour in February. You will have a few places opening up for some young players to get an opportunity.”
The team held their last training session on Wednesday, before taking a short break for Christmas.
Around the middle of January the Red Force squad will be chosen for the early rounds of the tournament. A mix of experienced players and young players are in training.
West Indies players Denesh Ramdin and Khary Pierre are among the seasoned campaigners.