Extra batting practice for Red Force

Trinidad and Tobago Red Force coach David Furlonge
Trinidad and Tobago Red Force coach David Furlonge

The Trinidad and Tobago Red Force depart for Grenada on Saturday ahead of their opening Cricket West Indies (CWI) Championship four-day match against Windward Islands Volcanoes at the Grenada National Stadium on Tuesday.

The squad leaves Trinidad at 2pm and will get two practice sessions in on Sunday and Monday before they bowl off the tournament’s first fixture.

Red Force coach David Furlonge said much emphasis was placed on the team’s batting, in the lead up to this year’s tourney. Batting remains top priority since it continues to be the detriment of TT’s competitiveness in the four-day format over the years.

For the past couple weeks, Furlonge allowed his players additional time in the middle to work on their craft, increase confidence and acclimatise to longer batting periods.

Speaking at the Scotiabank NextGen U-15 Cricket Development Programme launch in Couva on Friday, Furlonge said the team embraced the opportunity to bat longer.

“The team is looking very good. We want them batting long, we cut down on the amount of time they’ve gotten dismissed in the nets and so on. We did a little trial game on Tuesday and that went well. Hopefully they could put it together when the game comes around.

“The fellas embraced the additional batting. They even asked for more time. We started sessions from around 8.30am and finish at 4pm, but some of them wanted to continue and some of them went back out.

“They enjoyed getting the opportunity to get to bat long in the middle, spend time, and hopefully it pays the dividends we are looking for.”

The team’s newest addition, Vikash Mohan, has also bolstered the Red Force’s batting strengths and he is expected to make his first-class debut against the Volcanoes, Furlonge said.

The coach expects good things from Mohan, and also welcomed all-rounder Tion Webster back to the national setup. He also remains optimistic of Khary Pierre’s reintroduction to the squad.

“Vikash has fit in and has been batting well. He’s the only person in the practice batting for 90 minutes that hasn’t gotten out as yet. So we’re looking forward to good things from him when the game comes around.

“Hopefully Khary gets back in the team, he has been out because of Akeal’s (Hosein) presence. Akeal is not here now so hopefully he gets the opportunity. He has been around the setup for the last four or five years.

“We have Tion coming back into the team, he’s doing very well and made 100 in the trials and we’re looking at him as an all-rounder role now. He has been putting his hand up in that area; bowling an extensive amount of overs plus getting wickets.”

Furlonge hinted that Mohan may open TT’s batting alongside Jeremy Solozano and believes the newcomer can perform under pressure. Even spectators, he said, during the trials, were impressed with Mohan’s ability to adapt and play confidently.

“Vikash looks calm all the time when he goes in to bat. He has plenty time to play the ball. When we had the North-South game some spectators commented that he looked similar to Carl Hooper with the amount of time he has to play the ball. He has impressed everyone who has seen him so far. I don’t think he will be under any pressure.”

On his team’s ability to possibly end TT’s 17-year regional four-day title drought, Furlonge said it’s been a regular topic among the team.

“It has been talked about, up to yesterday (Thursday) we discussed how badly the fellas want it (trophy) and what we have to sacrifice to get it. I think all the players are willing to sacrifice, give 100 per cent and that should be enough for us to bring home the title.”

TT Red Force: Darren Bravo (Captain), Amir Jangoo, Imran Khan, Jason Mohammed, Terrance Hinds, Jyd Goolie, Jeremy Solozano, Yannic Cariah, Bryan Charles, Vikash Mohan, Uthman Muhammad, Tion Webster, Khary Pierre; David Furlonge (head coach)

Windward Islands Volcanoes: Alick Athanaze (Captain), Jerlani Robinson, Kavem Hodge, Keron Cottoy, Sunil Ambris, Justin Greaves, Tevyn Walcott, Kenneth Dember, Preston McSween, Teddy Bishop, Daurius Martin, Kimani Melius, Nicklaus Redhead; Shirley Clarke (head coach)


"Extra batting practice for Red Force"

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