CLT20 Staff in Johannesburg
CLT20 is like mini World Cup: Emrit
T&T all-rounder describes what the tournament means to most Caribbean players
The inspirational journey of the unheralded boys from Trinidad & Tobago to the final became the story of the inaugural Champions League Twenty20. T&T’s success personified the very essence of the tournament, where unknown faces get an opportunity to showcase their worth to the world.
T&T once again made the main tournament in 2011, after getting through the Qualifiers. This year, the venue has changed from India to South Africa. But the team from Caribbean has come with the same goal – to qualify for and then win the biggest T20 league in the world.
Coach David Williams and all-rounder Rayad Emrit made the team’s intentions clear in their first press conference ahead of the tournament.
“We’re in good stead at the moment. We did it last year so we’re quite aware as to what it is going to be like,” Williams said, before quickly adding that their experience will add up to zilch if the performance doesn’t come off on game day.
“Yes, we have the experience, but this is T20 cricket. You have to play well on the day and if you don’t, you get knocked out. It’s about taking one game at a time and that’s how we’re going to take it,” the T&T coach said.
Williams also observed the team’s job will get harder this time as the number of teams qualifying for the main tournament has come down from three to two.
“We know it’s tough because it will be one team going through [from each group]. It’s very important for us to play well,”
Although they failed to make the knockouts in 2011, Williams is glad his boys got the experience to play against quality opponents.
“The guys learned much from last year’s tournament. We played against some tough teams and top players. And we were able to keep our own, which was commendable to all the guys. That’s where the experience will help in this tournament,” he said.
Rayad Emrit spoke about the importance of CLT20 for the West Indian players and how it gives the non-international players some top-level cricket to look forward to.
“Everyone wants to represent their country and do well, but CLT20 is a big tournament for us; for some players it’s a mini World Cup. This tournament is very important in all aspects for Trinidad & Tobago and West Indies. The guys look forward to this. The domestic competition is so hyped now because of CLT20. It’s good and we just hope that it continues,” Emrit said while highlighting the value CLT20 adds to a cricketer’s career.