Red Steel head coach Simon Helmot said his team is “positive, prepared and organised” heading into their second match tomorrow in the 2014 Limacol Caribbean Premier League (LCPL) T20 tournament against the Guyana Amazon Warriors at the Providence stadium.
“We are very positive, very prepared, very organised and I think that was reflected in our performance. Ownership and responsibility was taken by two of our senior players in Darren Bravo and Ross Taylor and if you want to win competitions like CPL your better players, best players and senior professionals need to perform,” he said.
In an exclusive interview with Stabroek Sport on Monday at the stadium, the Aussie born coach said his team is brimming with confidence following their 7-wicket win in the opening match against the Barbados Tridents, courtesy of half-centuries from Bravo and Taylor. Despite a nerve-racking 2-wicket victory by the Warriors against the Antigua Hawksbills in their first match, Helmot said he was not nervous heading into the match against a still dangerous Guyana side at home. “No nerves, but we understand and respect that the Guyana team is very strong, they had a good season last year and they got off to a good start, they have some excellent depth in their team.”
Helmot was also generous with praise for the talents of “A couple of Trinidad boys in their team in Lendl (Simmons) and (Denesh) Ramdin” but noted that they still have to play well. He also acknowledged that his players would have to be aware of the Sunil Narine threat which most teams in world cricket still try to decipher when heading into a contest against the miserly mystery spinner.
“I wouldn’t say wary, but there’s an awareness in his skills and abilities but let’s face it our guys know him as well as anyone. I think we performed particularly well against him last season but we will be looking forward to playing positively but also with respect he is a quality bowler and one they (Warriors) will be looking to in order to keep the economy down,” he said.
The Red Steel romped to a comfortable win in their opening match, showing their wealth in the batting and bowling departments but the 42 year-old former Australia ‘A’ coach said he was not entirely satisfied with his team’s performance and expects them to improve as they progress. “I’m certainly not satisfied, but I do have confidence in the team we have. I have confidence in the leadership of Dwayne Bravo and I have confidence that there is great respect and camaraderie in the team as well as great skill and putting all those ingredients together hopefully it can put us in a great position come the back end of the season.”
Meanwhile, team mentor and legendary former West Indies batsman Gordon Greenidge said he was pleased with the mood in the camp. “I’m quite happy, I don’t think it’s anything different from last year, we didn’t have the start we wanted to but we picked up part way through the tournament and we didn’t finish the way we wanted to, but the mood is good it’s always been a happy camp, we have a bunch of Trinidadians, they are fun-loving guys.”
Greenidge further said that the fun-loving nature of the team is reflected in the outfield performances. The dressing room also provides an opportunity for mutual support and preparation for what would have been discussed during team meetings. The flamboyant opener said he advised the players to remain positive despite possible adverse situations.
“My role is to instil that self-belief and confidence in players which they need and it’s just a matter of them promoting themselves on the field of play. I don’t see that as a problem but you know how pressure can cause that not to happen, so having to make sure that we are able to absorb that pressure and then apply that pressure when we need to on the opposition is a key thing,” he noted.
The 63-year-old Barbadian also revealed that no specific plans have been made for the upcoming match. “We are going to take every game as it comes and not to underestimate any team. This is 20/20 cricket and sometimes you can turn up on the day and not perform so we will need to turn up and perform….should we do that we have a good chance of winning the game, we have a good all-round squad, right down to the end. The guys can hold their bat and hold their own.” Greenidge also explained that it is essential for everyone to have “a hit” so you can assess their form. He then pointed out that the he knows the guys who missed out last game will definitely want to perform tomorrow.
The Amazon Warriors like the Red Steel will be looking to maintain their winning streak when they collide in tomorrow’s game which bowls off at 4pm.