TT RED Force coach Mervyn Dillon wants his team to have a “good finish” to the 2018-2019 West Indies Four Day Championship.
The fifth-placed Red Force will meet table-proppers Jamaica Scorpions, in a rescheduled first round match, at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Tarouba, starting at 10 am (each day).
The Red Force have endured mixed results lately, as they trounced the Windward Islands Volcanoes by 190 runs in St Vincent last fortnight, but were soundly beaten by six wickets away to leaders Guyana Jaguars last weekend.
Dillon, in an interview last evening, said, “It’s sad that the season is ending.”
The ex-TT and West Indies fast bowler, who replaced Kelvin Williams as coach in January, continued, “The guys are coming together nicely, the atmosphere is really good. It’s really nice to sit down and listen to them, see them have fun and see them play cricket the way they’ve been playing it.”
West Indies players Shannon Gabriel, Lendl Simmons and Kyle Hope are back in the Red Force team, at the expense of Marlon Richards, Yannic Cariah and Tion Webster.
“The guys are comfortable and I’m really happy about that. It should be a good finish to the season. I would have loved to beat Guyana in Guyana but they played the better cricket and deserved to win.”
Hope, the former WI batsman, has been in good form on the domestic circuit, having overcome a chest injury he suffered during a Red Force training session. “He had an injury and Josh (Da Silva) came in and did well,” said Dillon. “We look forward to him to continue the form that he showed in the local (circuit).”
Experienced leg-spinning all-rounder Imran Khan needs two wickets to complete the double of 40 wickets and 400 runs for the season.
Against the Volcanoes, Khan collected his 400th first-class wicket and Dillon said,
“That is a major achievement and it’s something that needs to be recognised.
“The only question is how (can) someone have 400 first-class wickets and not been given the opportunity at West Indies level. He has been amazing to the team for the past seven years. He has been a real trump card and we understand his value to the team.”
Commenting on the pitch at the Tarouba venue, Dillon said, “It looked like a wicket in England in March. It looked very green. It’s nice to see something for the fast bowlers (and) it’s something that we need in our cricket.
“We had some rain for the past few days, so we didn’t get much done. But, with somebody like Shannon back, it’s going to be a big boost for us.”
The Red Force are yet to win a first-class game at Tarouba, with a record of five defeats and a draw. Dillon said, “We need to overcome that jumbie we have in Tarouba. With the team that I have going into this game, I’m confident about that.”
The Scorpions, coached by Robert Haynes, have made two changes to their squad, with West Indies opener John Campbell and pacer Jermaine Levy in for left-arm spinner Nikita Miller (who retired from first-class cricket last weekend) and fast bowler Jerome Taylor.
In related news, second-placed Leeward Islands Hurricanes, who have a mathematical chance of denying the Jaguars a fifth straight regional first-class crown, will host Barbados Pride at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground, Antigua in a rescheduled fourth round match.
RED FORCE: Denesh Ramdin (captain), Bryan Charles, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Kyle Hope, Imran Khan, Jason Mohammed, Khary Pierre, Jeremy Solozano, Odean Smith, Anderson Phillip, Lendl Simmons, Daniel St Clair.
SCORPIONS: Paul Palmer (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Dennis Bulli, John Campbell, Akim Fraser, Assad Fudadin, Garth Garvey, Nicholson Gordon, Derval Green, Brandon King, Kennar Lewis, Jermaine Levy.
HURRICANES: Rahkeem Cornwall (captain), Sheno Berridge, Nelson Bolan, Keacy Carty, Jahmar Hamilton, Montcin Hodge, Damion Jacobs, Alzarri Joseph, Kian Pemberton, Jaison Peters, Akeem Saunders, Devon Thomas, Terance Warde.
PRIDE: Shamarh Brooks (captain), Kraigg Brathwaite, Jonathan Carter, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Keon Harding, Chaim Holder, Chemar Holder, Marquino Mindley, Shayne Moseley, Shamar Springer, Tevyn Walcott.
Points Standings – 1.Guyana Jaguars 154.2; 2.Leeward Islands Hurricanes 131.2; 3.Barbados Pride 116.8; 4.Windward Islands Volcanoes 92; 5.TT Red Force 90.6; 6.Jamaica Scorpions 88.6.