(Trinidad Guardian) The T&T Red Force has switched its focus from the cruel red ball to the familiar, and perhaps, favourite format of One Day cricket. Two 50-over trial matches were held prior to Christmas and there will be another today at the National Cricket Centre.
There is hardly any momentum for the Red Force to take from the Regional 4-Day tournament into the one-day competition. The team’s third spot on the 4-Day table is a smokescreen to how badly it has done this season, and there are still three more matches. In the seven rounds of cricket thus far, T&T has had two wins, two losses and three incomplete matches.
It is rare for the Chairman of Selectors to give an interview but our visit to the second trial this past Saturday yielded fruit. Raphick Jumadeen didn’t mince with his words, “It is not a selection problem, it is a technical problem. If our technical staff cannot understand what is happening then the selectors can only pick what is available to them and what is in front of them… When they go out onto the field, it is the players’ responsibility to carry out their roles, because they are all selected to play a part on the team, and if they are not doing it, we have real problems.”
Like the players, Jumadeen and the entire management staff have also turned their focus to the Super50, and they may also be hoping the Red Force can turn a corner this season in this competition. In January’s edition of the tournament (2017), they made the semi-finals, before being blown away by Jamaica in a record defeat. It’s still up in the air if the Bravo brothers, Kieron Pollard and the rest of T&T’s top T20 stars will be available, but the entire management staff is keeping its fingers crossed. Regardless of who returns, Jumadeen has his concerns about how the current crop is approaching their game. “To play properly in the shorter format, you have to learn to play the longer version of the game, it’s as simple as that.” Jumadeen told us. He went on, “If you cannot bat properly in the longer version, how would you understand what is the basics and what is execution in the shorter format?”
The TTCB Chairman of Selectors also zoomed in on those tasked with managing and coaching the team. He said, “I think the responsibility should be on the coach to tell the players as it is, and if they’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing, they must know that…
You have to tell a man when to get off, you have to tell a player when he’s not focused, when he’s not committed, lackadaisical, whether his energy level is not there or something is on his mind besides cricket, you have to let them know.”
With the Guyana Jaguars virtually out of sight already with the Regional 4-Day title, the T&T Red Force will now aim to save its season with the Regional Super50 title, but they may need the muscles of Pollard, Bravo, and Evin Lewis to carry the team to it.