Jason Mohammed

LEADER: Jason Mohammed

Trinidad and Tobago Red Force coach David Furlonge says the time is right for the return of regional four-day cricket with his players eager for competitive action after spending months in training.

While local team sports are still prohibited in T&T under the Covid-19 regulations, national teams, the Red Force included, were allowed to resume full training, and with CWI director of cricket Jimmy Adams revealing plans to restart regional four-day cricket in February, the Red Force will be ramping up preparations with a series of three-day matches, the first of which bowls off tomorrow at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba.

The second three-day game will be played at the same venue from November 24 while a third match is set to be played at the National Cricket Centre in Balmain, Couva from December 1.

According to Adams, the return of first-class cricket to the region is a priority for Cricket West Indies in 2022. The regional four-day competition has not been held since it was prematurely halted in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Perfect prelude

to England tour

Furlonge said if the four-day tournament does in fact get off the ground in February, it will be the perfect prelude to the England tour of the Caribbean, giving the regional players an opportunity to address the selectors and to get in some competitive games.

“I think it is very important to get back to playing four-day cricket,” Furlonge told the Express yesterday after a four-hour training session at the National Cricket Centre in Balmain, Couva.

“This four-day tournament in February will be important for players to address the selectors and put their hands up to represent the West Indies against England. It is also important to help develop our senior players,” the Red Force coach explained.

“I think they (the senior players) need to get involved in more four-day cricket which will help them to be more consistent in their 50-over and T20 performances. I think the four-day format will help them develop their skills,” he added.

Speaking about the upcoming Red Force practice games, Furlonge said all players and match officials involved will be fully vaccinated. He expects the matches to be keenly contested.

“I think the games will be very competitive. These games are to give players a chance to vie for selection for the upcoming four-day tournament, and I think the Red Force team will be a very difficult team to pick because we have had quite a few players in the West Indies Test squad,” said Furlonge.

Solozano in Windies squad

Opening batsman Jeremy Solozano is the latest Red Force player to get called up to the West Indies Test team, joining Shannon Gabriel, Jayden Seales and Joshua Da Silva on the Caribbean side’s two-Test tour of Sri Lanka.

Darren Bravo also has Test match credentials despite not being picked in the red-ball format since returning from New Zealand in December last year.

“The guys are looking forward to getting back on the pitch and playing matches.

“The only thing we have not had is match time. We had some matches earlier this year but we have not had any club cricket so I would like to play as many matches as possible to give players as much match time as possible before the regional competition begins,” said Furlonge.

The squads for the first Red Force practice match will be led by Jason Mohammed and Bryan Charles and will include a mix of contracted players, current Under-19 players and past Under-19 players.

Squads

Mohammed XI: Jason Mohammed (captain), Mbeki Joseph, Keagan Simmons, Jyd Goolie, Denesh Ramdin, Rajeev Ramnath, Terrance Hinds, Ricky Jaipaul, Anderson Phillip, Jarlarnie Seales, Sameer Ali, Ryan Bandoo, Daniel Osouna.

Charles XI: Bryan Charles (captain), Leonardo Julien, Navin Bidaisee, Isaiah Rajah, Kirstan Kallicharan, Yannic Cariah, Crystian Thurton, Jahron Alfred, Khary Pierre, Uthman Muhammad, Shaaron Lewis, Justin Manick, Chadeon Raymond.

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