Trinbago Knight Riders’ (TKR) spinner Khary Pierre will be using the 2020 Hero Caribbean Premier League T20 competition to bolster his reputation and reclaim his place in the West Indies squad ahead of the next ICC T20 World Cup, now postponed from later this year to 2021.
Pierre, speaking to the Express last week, said he is stepping up his preparations for the August 18 to September 10 tournament taking place in Trinidad, and thinks TKR have a good opportunity this year to clinch their fourth title.
The left-arm orthodox spinner joined TKR in 2017 and helped the then Dwayne Bravo-led franchise win back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018 and his performances resulted in a call-up to the West Indies One Day International and T20 teams.
He has so far played ten T20Is as well as three ODIs but didn’t make the cut for the Windies’ last limited overs tour to Sri Lanka earlier this year.
“Playing for TKR is a privilege and I feel very privileged to play with these guys as well, and for a team that has won the tournament three times. You will always want to be around a winning team and anytime I am playing with TKR I am very happy,” he said of being retained by the franchise for 2020.
“I am looking forward to CPL in terms trying to do well and trying to bolster my reputation and really get myself back in the West Indies T20 team and cement myself in the team. With the World Cup being pushed back, it gives me more time to go out there and showcase what I can do and that will help me secure my place in the team. All I can do is go out there and perform to the best of my ability and let the selectors take it from there,” the 28-year-old added.
Pierre likes the look of the 2020 squad which will be led by Kieron Pollard, who stepped into the role last year when Bravo was ruled out through injury.
“I think it is a well-rounded team and the management, staff and the captain did a great job with the selection. There are a lot of other senior guys there to help him (Pollard) out as well.”
Pierre said playing behind closed doors was something the players will have to find a way to deal with, and insisted that being at home will mean they will have to be at their best at all times.
“The crowds have always been good in Trinidad and that 12th man support has helped us in the past. Without the crowds there this year, that will be very difficult but we have to put that behind us and go out there and do what we have to do as professional athletes,” he said.
“This year, although we are home, we know each team is coming out to beat us and I think we have to go out there with the mindset that we can’t afford to take any team for granted. All the teams are very good and strong, so we really need to go out there and play our best cricket,” he added.
The Queen’s Park player described the lockdown to mitigate against the spread Covid-19 was “a unique experience”.
“While I could not go to any training facilities to do my training, I still had that vision that I needed to stay fit although I was in lockdown. When I was home I had the opportunity to do my strength work because I have dumbbells and I have a roller and things like that.
“So I have been working tirelessly although I was locked down at home, so that I could keep up my training and stay fit so that when the lockdown is over I could be able to perform,” he added.
Asked whether he has any concerns about playing the tournament alongside international players who were expected to arrive in Trinidad early this month, Pierre replied: “Once those guys go though the procedures in terms of testing and stuff, I don’t really have a problem and once we continue to follow the guidelines, all will be well.”