Sport-Filler

The Trinidad and Tobago Red Force had no time to celebrate their CG Insurance Super50 triumph a week ago with most of the players taking up West Indies assignments less than 24 hours after lifting the trophy and a few still in Antigua waiting to come home.

While three players --Sunil Narine, Ravi Rampaul and Kjorn Ottley --are already back in Trinidad, the rest of the team are still in Antigua, the majority joining the West Indies camp for the Sri Lanka series, also taking place in Antigua, and a couple waiting for a connecting flight home.

Denesh Ramdin and Khary Pierre, along with the management staff -- coach David Furlonge, manager Sebastian Edwards, physio Lyndon Knights, trainer Clinton Jeremiah and logistics manager Sheldon Siewnarine --are all waiting to return home and are expected to leave Antigua tomorrow for Barbados where they will stay until their March 10 flight to Trinidad.

The team’s masseur Kelly Sankar has already left Antigua for the US and is expected to return to T&T on March 13. Meanwhile, skipper Kieron Pollard, Akeal Hosein, Lendl Simmons, Nicholas Pooran and Evin Lewis joined the West Indies T20 squad in Antigua for the three-match T20I series which concludes tomorrow.

Pollard, Pooran, Hosein and Lewis are also part of the ODI squad along with Darren Bravo and Jason Mohammed while Anderson Phillip is also staying in Antigua as reserve player for the ODIs. Imran Khan and Jayden Seales, who were also part of the triumphant Red Force Super50 set-up, also remained in Antigua for a West Indies four-day practice match ahead of the Test series against Sri Lanka. While it might be frustrating having to wait more than a week to get home, the Red Force coach said all the players and staff knew what to expect when they signed on to take part in the Super50 cup.

Of the win, Furlonge said: “We didn’t have a lot of time to celebrate because everybody had to go to their various camps on Sunday morning.

Everybody was fully aware of what was going to be happening when we left Trinidad. He continued: “Both staff and players signed an agreement with CWI about the possibility of having to wait to come back home and I know CWI is doing everything in their power to ensure those guys can come back home as soon as their assignments are finished. We have been talking with players so that everyone is updated on what is happening.”

In terms of his own return to the training pitch in Trinidad, the Red Force coach said that once everything goes according to plan, he will be back on the field with the national team at the end of March, but insisted that the players have been on a training programme with Kelvin Williams and David Williams and that he has been monitoring their progress.

“I am hoping to be back on the pitch on the 24 or 25th but I have been on constant contact with the players in Trinidad. I left a programme for them that are going to take them up to next week when I get back, but I have been in contact with Kelvin and David and the chairman of selectors (Rajendra Mangalie) all the time,” Furlonge explained.

One area that he wants the players to work on is rotating the strike which he said will be crucial for success in the longer format of the game. “I’ve been following the scores from the first two practice games and I am looking at their performances and (the) dot ball percentage is still pretty high. There were plenty sixes and fours, but we are not seeing the rotation of the strike which is needed in a four-day game scenario if we are to get large totals and bat for more than a day,” he said.

“So, I will have a discussion with them this week, but I am still going through the statistics from the first two trial matches. I also asked the analyst (Amrit Jadoo) to take a look at it so will I will also be looking at his data to plan the next phase of preparations,” Furlonge added.

While the players in training in Trinidad have competed in two three-day trial matches so far with another planned for next week, Furlonge said he wants to step up the preparations with some four-day games towards the end of March and early April.

Of the 14-day down time that the players will face when they return to T&T, Furlonge said it will be concern but the players are professionals and will know how to deal with it.

“The down time coming back into Trinidad and having to quarantine, yes it will be a concern, but the players are professionals and will be doing their work. We have Ottley and Rampaul already there so they will be involved in the four-day trials when they come out of quarantine and Ramdin and Pierre will join in when we get back and the other guys are part of the West Indies set up so they will be training and playing cricket so they should be okay,” Furlonge concluded.

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