“This definitely goes beyond the boundary.”
Darren Bravo, one of the Trinbago Knight Riders stars in their victory in the Hero Caribbean Premier League final yesterday, was not alone in hailing his side’s historic 12-match winning streak that saw them lift the title for a fourth time.
But as they celebrated in an empty Brian Lara Cricket Academy, members of the victorious TKR squad also remembered those who were not there to share the moment with them.
“It would have been a lot more brilliant if you guys were here but we knew exactly what was going on,” skipper Kieron Pollard said in a post-match message to the fans. “We got the opportunity to play cricket in this sort of time whereas a lot of deaths, a lot of sickness that we never expected. Hope that we entertained each and every one of you, our families who have stuck with us... We hope we brought smiles to the faces, We hope we entertained.”
The TKR’s matchless winning streak was achieved in a tournament without spectactors because of the Covid-19 pandemic. And mindful of that reality like his captain, Bravo said to the television audience: “We know times are very difficult at this point in time so hopefully, this victory can put smiles on your faces and by extension all our fans across in India.”
And speaking of the campaign itself that got TKR 12 wins out of 12, Pollard said it was inspired by what happened last season.
“We have worked really, really hard for this. Last year when we sat down in that dressing room in the semi-final against Barbados, you could have seen the disappointment in the guys. And we sat down and we... decided to have a different plan.”
He added: “We had some rigorous conversations, a couple players, we lost them but we replaced them and the mentality of the guys came through... Right through the tournament the guys just stuck to it each and every game, wanting to improve as individuals and wanting to be the best they can be, and I think this one is really, really special because it was a total, total team effort.”
Yesterday’s win was achieved without the injured ace spin-bowling all-rounder, Sunil Narine.
But he was still a happy man.
“It means a lot knowing the times we are in now and to come out and give a performance like that, it’s good for cricket and it’s good for sport on the whole,” he said of the eight-wicket win over the St Lucia Zouks.
And asked his thoughts on having to miss the final, Narine stated his main concern.
“I prefer that I don’t play and win, so it’s good to come with a victory. I would have loved to play to give my input but I think we had the strong eleven out there to go all the way.
“It was all about history. Winning a title without losing a game hasn’t been done and that was the key moment for us. I think we needed to go one step better than Guyana and win all games including the final, and that’s what we came out here to achieve and at the end of the day we had a great performance.”