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Shirin Sadikot in Ranchi

T&T hope to make most of last CLT20 as Red Force

With CPL winner to represent WI next year, T&T keen to end on high note

The Trinidad & Tobago outfit has marked its regular presence at the CLT20 after wowing one and all by making the final in the inaugural season.
The 2013 edition of the tournament is doubly special for the Caribbean team. For one, it is the first time that they have made a direct entry into the Group Stage, without having to play the Qualifiers. Secondly, this will be the last time that T&T will be representing their island as a team in the CLT20.

From next year, West Indies’ representative at the CLT20 will be the winners of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) – currently Jamaica – as opposed to the island/nation team that wins the domestic T20 tournament.

As they gear up to open their 2013 CLT20 campaign, against the Brisbane Heat in Ranchi on Sunday, the team’s senior player, Rayad Emrit said that they want to achieve something special in their last CLT20 as the ‘Red Force.’

According to him, the members of his team who have had the experience of playing in this tournament before and those who play for various IPL franchises, will be the key to the team’s success.

“There’s no pressure on them to perform. In fact, since they have played so much IPL, this is nothing new to them,” Emrit said. “This is our last time as a country and we want to make it count. It’s going to be big for us.

“We have around six or seven guys in our team who have played in India before and they will be our key contributors.”

T&T are placed in Group B, with Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Titans and Brisbane Heat. While Emrit pegged the Chennai outfit as one of the strongest ones, he said that all teams will be difficult to beat, given the presence of various international stars in them.

“Chennai are playing at home and they’re probably the No.1 team in our group,” Emrit said. “But there are other teams who have come here as champions of their respective countries. We know it’s going to be difficult but we’re backing ourselves to do well.

“There are a lot of star-studded players in the tournament and we know we have to play really well to beat them. But we will play the kind of cricket we’re used to playing, that is having fun while we try to win,” the all-rounder said.

A very important aspect of a short and fast-paced tournament like the CLT20 is the preparation ahead of it, as the teams have to hit the ground running. T&T’s plans got a bit disturbed on Saturday as the rains in Ranchi led to their practice match being cancelled.

However, Emrit said that the team will not be found wanting for a lack of preparation, as they have done enough back home.

“The rain has affected us a bit – we’ve lost a couple of days’ practice. But it’s okay because before coming to India we had decent preparation. So, it’s not all that bad. We have to look at what we have. We are all professionals out there and we prepared well.”

Emrit also lifted the doubt over Ravi Rampaul’s availability in the tournament after the pace was forced to miss the CPL due to an ankle injury. He said that the senior pacer was “fit and raring to go.”

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