Called up as a replacement for the injured Evin Lewis, Nicholas Pooran is likely to step right into action today when top-of-the-table Trinidad and Tobago Red Force take on cellar-placed defending champions Jamaica Scorpions in their penultimate match in the league phase of the CG United Super50 Cup at the Queen’s Park Oval.
Pooran, Red Force skipper when the regional tournament was played last year, had declared himself unavailable for this year’s tournament. However, he has accepted the call to replace Lewis, who was only able to play one match for the franchise.
“Evin has been struggling with an injury and we think it is best that he takes this period to rehabilitate,” Red Force coach and chairman of selectors David Furlonge said.
Commenting on Pooran’s call-up Furlonge said: “We are blessed to be able to bring in a player with Nicholas’ ability and experience into a team that is already doing well. We have no doubt that he will have a positive impact on the unit both on and off the field.”
Yesterday, Furlonge told the Express that the former captain, “has been practicing with our reserve players; they practice three days a week.” And according to the coach, Pooran is “likely to play” today against the Scorpions.
The Red Force currently lead second-placed Barbados Pride by one point but are already qualified for the semi-finals with 37 points.
However, with the knockout section of the competition approaching, Furlonge will be looking for certain improvements from his players today, beginning with the bowling effort in the Powerplay overs.
“Teams have been getting 60-plus runs in the first ten overs off our bowling,” Furlonge noted yesterday. “Last game (against the West Indies Academy) we were able to hold them to 47 runs in the first ten overs, so it shows a little improvement.”
By contrast, the Red Force have yet to be dismissed after five matches. However, Furlonge wants more from individual players.
Using the example of Tion Webster, who has got into the 40s twice so far without going further, the coach said, “we need fellows like that to take the responsibility and go on.”
The Red Force have also worked on their fielding over the last couple days because Furlonge said, “last game was not as good in the field as we were in the prior games.”
The coach however, has had no complaints about how his players have done in gaining bonus points under the new system introduced by Cricket West Indies. The Red Force have so far picked up 18, the third most among the eight sides.
“I think we have been handling it well,” he said. “Once you play proper cricket, you would get the bonus points. We have been emphasizing…playing the right type of cricket and I think that accounts for our higher percentage of bonus points.”
However Furlongs added: “The dot ball percentage we tried to improve. We got it down the game before the last (against the Leeward Islands Hurricanes).
“It’s a good idea to let fellows think about these things and maybe improve certain areas that West Indies cricket has been lacking for years.”