PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) – Trinidad & Tobago will hold no terrors for title-chasing Barbados when the two teams meet in their eighth round WICB Regional four-day match here starting today.
The hosts have been Barbados’ nemeses in recent years but visiting manager Livingstone Coppin said yesterday T&T’s dominance was all but over, even as the two teams prepared for their second clash of the first class competition at Guaracara Park.
“They have been dominant against us in recent past but I think that that is about to change,” Coppin said.
“We have a very good team despite losing some top players to injury and Test duties.”
In the drawn opening round encounter in Barbados back in January, T&T emerged with honours when they took first innings points.
Since then Barbados have been the better team and are second in the championship on 51 points, with four wins in six matches this season.
Rested after drawing a last-round bye, Barbados are now confident they can get the better of T&T as they continue their quest to haul in leaders Jamaica who are nine points ahead.
“I normally measure our success according to how well we do against Trinidad and I am hoping for a good showing from our team,” Coppin said.
“I am not worried about our bowling. I am hoping that the batting stays consistent. We have been posting some good first innings scores and I hope that this continues in this game.”
They are coming off two successive victories against Guyana and Combined Campuses and Colleges and will be hopeful of maintaining this winning sequence.
Barbados have made just one change from their last round outing against CCC, replacing all-rounder Barrington Yearwood with uncapped off-spinner Shane Ramsay.
T&T, meanwhile, currently lying third in the standings have turned to left-arm unorthodox spinner Magnum Nanan in search of a win.
The Clico Preysal player has been included in the T&T team to face Barbados along with left-handed batsman Darren Bravo who is returning after being sidelined with a finger injury.
Lendl Simmons, unlucky not to force his way into the West Indies team for the fourth Test against England in Barbados, will also turn out for T&T. The right-hander is in tremendous form having scored 282 against England, 74 against the CCC and 167 in the last match against Guyana.
Despite an amazing five draws at the halfway point of the tournament, captain Daren Ganga said his team was poised to make a run for championship honours in the final phase of the competition.
“We are a bit behind after the first round of this tournament but we are at the point now where we can make a serious run for the title,” Ganga said.
“We know that Barbados is a good team and they are currently ahead of us in the standings. What we also know is that we are playing at a venue that has favoured us and we will be looking to continue our dominance against the Barbadians.”
Nanan is the only change to the squad that took first innings points from Guyana in Georgetown in the last round.
T&T – Daren Ganga (captain), Adrian Barath, Lendl Simmons, Imran Khan, Sherwin Ganga, Gibran Mohammed, Magnum Nanan, Sunil Narine, Atiba Alert, Amit Jaggernauth, Ravi Rampaul, Keiron Pollard and Navin Stuart.
Barbados – Jason Haynes (captain), Patrick Browne, Jonathan Carter, Nikolai Charles, Pedro Collins, Corey Collymore, Kirk Edwards, Rohan Nurse, Kemar Roach, Jason Parris, Shane Ramsay, Dwayne Smith, Kevin Stoute.