PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC-West Indies opener Lendl Simmons has been included in the Trinidad and Tobago squad to play Guyana in the sixth round of the regional four-day cricket tournament, starting on Friday at the Providence Stadium, Guyana.
Simmons is the only change in the squad which crushed Jamaica by 145 runs in three days at the Queen’s Park Oval on Sunday.
“Our batting has been a problem throughout the tournament,” said Captain Rayad Emrit.
“Lendl Simmons is back in the team and he will bring a wealth of experience and hopefully he can give us some runs and the bowlers can finish the job”.
Simmons, a member of the West Indies team which was defeated by Sri Lanka in the semifinals of the ICC World T20 Championship in Bangladesh, replaces fellow Windies player Kieron Pollard, who scored a century against Jamaica on his return to regional cricket, after recuperating from a knee injury.
Pollard will join the Mumbai Indians for the Indian Premier League (IPL), which bowls off on April 16. “As long as we put the runs on the board, that is the most important thing,” said Emrit.
“We went to Barbados and we did not play well, but in the four home games we got the results we wanted and once the batters do the job, the bowlers can finish it”. The Trinidadians are at the top of the Regional Four-day Championship standings with 72 points and head into their final round match against last placed Guyana knowing that a win will secure the trophy.
Barbados are second on the standings with 65 points and one game to play, while the Windward Islands are third, also on 65 having completed all their round robin matches. “Being at the top of the table is where we wanted to be going into the last round, but we know Guyana are going to be tough to beat at home,” said Emrit.
“The guys know now that we could win the title so we have everything to play for going into this game”. T&T surged to the top of the standings following their 145-run win over Jamaica at Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain on Sunday.
Guyana fell to their fourth loss of the season when they were beaten by the Leeward Islands in Antigua on Monday.
“We are playing good cricket now and I think have the momentum heading into the final round. If we win this game we win the title, so it is in our hands now,” the skipper added.
“They have not been playing the best cricket lately and they are at the bottom of the table but it is going to be a lot of pressure because they will not want to finish in last place”.
Denesh Ramdin is also unavailable due to an injury he picked up during the ICC World T20, while Akeal Hosein is still recovering from a thigh strain.
The other T&T cricketers who were part of the West Indies team at the World T20, but were not included in the squad to play Guyana are Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine, Samuel Badree and Ravi Rampaul who, like Pollard, are all also heading to the IPL to join their respective teams.