Photo Credit: Cricket West Indies
The traditional rivalries within regional cricket – which date back over 120 years – resumed on Wednesday with the restart of the West Indies Championship four-day first-class tournament. Fans will be delighted to see their favorite regional and international players on show as the 2022 edition moved into Round 3 in Trinidad.
After the first two rounds in February, Barbados Pride headed the points standings, followed by Trinidad & Tobago Red Force. Barbados have 42.0 points, with the home team on 38.6 points and the Leeward Islands Hurricanes rounding out the top three with 24.6 points. Fourth on the table are Guyana Harpy Eagles on 21.4 points, followed by Windward Islands Volcanoes on 10.9 points and Jamaica Scorpions on 8.8 points, respectively.
Several marquee players spoke to CWI Media ahead the upcoming clashes as teams locked horns for the coveted Headley/Weekes Trophy – named in honor of George Headley and Sir Everton Weekes – two pioneers of West Indies cricket and two of the greatest batsmen the game has ever seen.
Guyana Harpy Eagles vs Barbados Pride at Queen’s Park Oval
For current defending champions and ongoing season table toppers Barbados Pride, wicket-keeper batsman Shane Dorwich is part of large contingent with several Test players alongside West Indies captain Kraigg Braithwaite, Shai Hope, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Jomel Warrican and Raymon Reifer.
“I’m looking forward to the game over the past five, six years, we’ve had some good battles with Guyana. And they always present a challenge for us and we’re always up for it because he’s one of the games that we really enjoy playing. Tomorrow will be no different. It’d be a good battle and we are up for it and ready”, said the 30 year old Dorwich who has played 35 Tests and 113 first class games. He continued: “It’s crucial that we start well start by Well, obviously we played the first two games at home, so we are playing overseas now which presents a different challenge and we just need to start well hit the ground running this first game and look to continue in the vein that we were back in the last two games.”
On the opposite end of spectrum Young Guyanese off-spinner has tasted international experience in white ball cricket. He will be part of Harpy eagles team led by veteran captain Leon Johnson, who via the prowess of West Indies incumbent test spinner, the left-arm orthodox Veeerasammy Permaul will be hoping to use their spin strength to mount a stern challenge against Barbados on a Queen’s Park Oval venue that historically assists Caribbean spin bowlers.
Sinclair spoke up what he felt Guyana needed to do in this encounter after the Round 2 defeat in February against Leeward Islands Hurricanes.
“From my point of view, once you play as a team, I believe collectively and learn from our mistakes in the first few rounds, I think we can come out on top and stake a claim for the title since that is what’s on the line. So, we (Guyana) just got to play as a team and work hard”, said Sinclair.
Regarding his own game transitioning in red ball cricket and facing the experience Barbados, Sinclair elaborated further on those two points.
“For me is a bit of a big transition because you know the red ball game is way different from the white ball and you have to get a little bit more variation in the armory. So that’s been going well for me in practice and in practice matches so I feel like I’m ready and looking forward to doing well in the red ball as well.
He added: “I played my debut game against them (Barbados Pride) and scored a 40 something and I didn’t get any wickets, but I played two games again against them already, so I don’t think it shouldn’t be anything different for me. I just must back myself and back my new skill that I develop in terms of red ball cricket.
Trinidad & Tobago Red Force vs Leeward Islands Hurricanes at Diego Martin Sports Complex
Hosts Trinidad & Tobago Red Force are on a mission to win their first domestic four-day title since 2005/06 season, when on that occasion they secured the title on the old Guaracara Park in South Trinidad. For the first time this season will play on the twin-island republic newest first-class venue, the Diego Martin Sports Complex versus the Leeward Islands Hurricanes and West Indies Test keeper Joshua Da Silva previewed the clash.
“I’m just happy to be back with the Red Force and just happy with the performances I had in the test series (England) so trying to bring it back here and hope that I could help the Trinidad team and we could go on to win a title which we haven’t done in 20 odd years. So it’d be nice to bring what I’ve learnt and just stick to the basics at the end of the day, but we just want to play the best cricket we can”, said Da Silva.
Da Silva further spoke of the overall strength and experience of the home side and its very impressive fast bowling trio led by test veteran Shannon Gabriel alongside young duo Jayden Seales and Anderson Phillip, as the Red Force aims to back up their opening two round victories against a Leeward team coming off an impressive victory over Guyana.
“Of course, we have a very strong squad with a lot of experience, with Darren Bravo and Shannon Gabriel coming back. We have an excellent captain and Imran Khan who has been leading us tremendously, we got two wins in the first two rounds”, said Da Silva. “So, we’re just looking to build on that and use all the experience we have with myself with the test match I have and Jayden (Seales) who is a very big prospect for us. So, he (Jayden) Anderson and Shannon would be leading the pace attack.“
Jamaica Scorpions vs Windward Islands Volcanoes at Brian Lara Cricket Academy
The Jamaicans find themselves at the bottom of the table and will need a fillip, especially from their experienced batters, as they face the upbeat Windwards, led by Kavem Hodge. Skipper John Campbell, has indicated that he will have to shoulder the great responsibility at the topof the order along with Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner and Paul Palmer Jr.
“The previous two rounds were played some time ago and it’s almost as though we’re starting from zero again, though the points standing won’t reflect that. What we must do now in this round is to start well and execute what we have been doing in practice,” left-handed Campbell said.