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T&T stars go with IPL

Port of Spain – Trinidad and Tobago’s cricket team will be without star players Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Sunil Narine when they take part in the Champions League in South Africa in October.

In the first public comment by a T&T cricket official on the matter, team manager Omar Khan said they have already “accepted” the fact that T&T will be without their biggest stars, who will campaign for their respective IPL teams – Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and IPL champs Kolkata Knight Riders, respectively.

It is a chance, he said, for young players to step in and stake their own claim for a spot in the team with good performances. “We have come to accept [the absence of Pollard, Bravo and Narine]. At the end of the day in international cricket, players are now being contracted by various teams. At the end of the day there will be times we have to play the best available team,” Khan said.

Khan continued: “Last year we went to the Champions League without Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard, and Sunil Narine got an opportunity, and he made the most of his opportunity. So this year, there may be another player who may make a name for himself, and that’s how it goes. It’s an opportunity for the new guys to make a name for themselves.” Khan said in the wake of last weekend’s “Twenty20 for 50” tournament, which featured T&T, Jamaica and Brian Lara and Daren Ganga All-Star teams.

The most important thing for Khan, though, is that T&T continue to play competitive matches ahead of the Champions League.

“The first objective [of the tournament] was to get [T&T in] that winning habit. Secondly, it was an opportunity to play together as a team for the first time we came together.

“It’s good to have Denesh Ramdin captaining the team with Darren Bravo and Lendl Simmons in the side. With that in mind, it’s good to see the guys working together as a team.”

Khan identified the fielding and batting, particularly the opening positions, as areas that need improvement, but stressed that they will be addressed as T&T continue to prepare for the Champions League.

T&T will face also Barbados, Afghanistan and Bangladesh next week in another quadrangular T20 competition, billed: “Asia vs the Caribbean”. This will give them more match practice, and hopefully their winning ways will continue, Khan suggested.

“It’s another opportunity for us to fine tune in terms of our preparations before we go to South Africa,” said Khan.

“The aim is always to win, especially when we are playing for our country. Pride and passion in representing our country and we want to make our country proud.”

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