Sport-Filler

Red Force wicketkeeper/batsman Denesh Ramdin said there will be no room for error in the upcoming Cricket West Indies (CWI) Super50 Cup in Antigua next month.

He said it was important that the players stay “switched on” from start to finish if they are to clinch their first piece of silverware since 2016.

The Red Force will field an experienced team in this year’s competition led by Kieron Pollard and including Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul, Sunil Narine and Ramdin.

Ramdin hasn’t been part of the Red Force Super50 side since 2018 and is happy to be back in the team and ready to step up to ensure the team gets over the line this time around after falling at the semi-final stages in the previous two editions of the tournament.

It was in Antigua in 2017 that the Red Force lost in the semis to Jamaica Scorpions who piled up an imposing 434 for four when they were sent in to bat.

The next season, the Red Force failed to make the knockout round while in the 2018-19 tournament, they suffered a batting meltdown in the semis, being blown away for 92 by the Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) at Kensington Oval in Barbados. T&T exited at the semi-final stage again in 2019, losing to the Leeward Islands Hurricanes at Queen’s Park Oval.

“I think what has let us down in the past is basically one year we lost in the semi-finals when our bowling let us down terribly in Antigua a couple years ago and then we lost in Barbados to CCC when our batting let us down. When we get to those latter stages of the tournament, it is very important that we stay switched on and finish off strong,” the former Red Force skipper told the Express.

The final 15-man squad was finalised last Friday and Ramdin shared the opinion of head coach David Furlonge and chairman of selectors Rajendra Mangalie that the team had all the ingredients to be successful.

“It is a good experienced team that has been selected with a new captain at the helm in Kieron Pollard. He is very serious and enthusiastic to go out there and win this tournament. Alongside him, we have Darren Bravo, Ravi Rampaul and Lendl Simmons, so we have a lot of experience in this team,” Ramdin explained.

The 35-year-old former West Indies Test captain is one of the more experienced players in the camp, having played 213 List A games, scoring 4,009 runs at an average of 28.03 with four centuries and 17 half-centuries.

“I think we have all areas covered. We have guys at the top who can give us a good start as well as guys in the middle who can consolidate and then we have guys like Pollard and (Nicholas) Pooran, Narine who can strike the ball hard to set up the game quite nicely,” Ramdin noted.

“In the bowling, we have a good spinning department with Narine, Khary Pierre, Akeal Hosein, Imran Khan and then we have Ravi Rampaul leading our pace attack so we have experience in all areas,” he added. However, Ramdin is aware that a strong team on paper does not guarantee success.

“Basically, we have to take it one game at time and every game we have to play like a final. It is a short tournament so it is important guys get themselves in form both with the bat and the ball and you know catches win matches as well, so we also want to be clinical in the field as well,” said Ramdin.

In terms of his role in the set-up, Ramdin said that skipper Pollard will have his full support and that his will do whatever he can to help the team win.

“Polly is a good guy and if he looks my way for support, I have no problem giving that support because we are going out there as a team to win matches so we will support each other and at the end of the day, he will make the best decision for the team,” said Ramdin.

“It is very important for me to continuing supporting the team in whatever role I am asked to play. As a senior player, it is important to mentor the younger players as well as to play my role in whatever situation the team is in, whether it is to try to put my team in a commanding situation or bat my team out of a crisis. Either way, I am up for the challenge,” he added.

Looking beyond the Super50, Ramdin is eyeing a recall to the Red Force four-day team. “As the selectors say, make runs and they will decide from there. All I can do is continue to stay fit and get some runs on the board and then leave it up to them,” he said.

“I think I still have a few more years in me. You see a lot of players playing the game at 37, 38, 39. It is all about eating the right stuff and staying in the gym and keeping fit.”

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