33-year-old Darren Bravo, is not too worried about his performance as he prepares to lead the Northern team in 2023.
Red Force’s Bravo scored three half-centuries in the West Indies Super 50 Trophy late last year and scored 60 in a Red Force Test match last week. He said his side were looking forward to a “good classic”.
During the training session, he told the Trinidad Express that he was happy with the composition of his team.
“I am quite happy with the combination of our team, so I am looking forward to a good game.”
“The competition for places is always good and healthy. The manager, coach and myself will come together to pick what we believe will be the best combination to defeat the South team, so we will see how that goes on Thursday morning.”
The South has leg-spinner Imran Khan leading the right-hand side and includes pacer Shannon Gabriel and middle-order batsman Jason Mohammed.
Asked about his form heading into this week’s Classic and the upcoming four-day season that starts at the end of the month, Bravo said: “I’m good.”
“I am not thinking too far ahead right now. The main focus is the North/South Classic, so my main goal is to try and lead the team to the best of my ability and try to perform to my best as well, so we will see how it goes.”
He further said that he is as positive as possible. Also, when asked about the upcoming four-day campaign, the Trinidad player said,
“I am just trying to stay as positive as much as possible. I don’t want to delve into too much of what I have been doing but I am enjoying the game which is the most important thing, so I think once that is happening, everything else will take care of itself.”
“I don’t want to look too far ahead. The team has not been selected as yet. As I mentioned before, the main focus is the next game and when we get to that bridge (the four-day tournament) we’re going to cross it.”
North’s Tion Webster made 107 runs and six wickets in last week’s Test match and told Bravo he was “looking good”.
“So far he (Webster) has done well in the trial matches where the national team is concerned, so hopefully he con continue staying hungry to do well and I don’t see any reason why he should take his foot off the gas here.”
“It is another opportunity and the team has not been selected as yet where Trinidad and Tobago is concerned. I think he is doing all he can to be part and parcel of the set-up, so hopefully he can continue.”
Meanwhile, former Red Force all-rounder Rayad Emrit, who will coach the northern side for the Classic, hopes to bring some freshness to the way T&T cricketers approach the game.
“I think our cricket is lacking players expressing themselves. We are a bit too defensive and it is all due to players competing for spots and not wanting to fail and that’s okay but we need to show more aggressiveness in our cricket and hopefully the North team can show that this time around.”
Recalling his match-winning century in T&T’s win over Barbados in the 2006 Caribbean Beer Challenge four-day final, Emritt said:
“These are things as players you look forward to doing and this is what I am trying to bring into our cricket now. So hopefully things can change and we can see that commitment and aggressiveness in these players.”
“We had a group chat before our training session and I told the guys that I was part of this game before I made the national team. Good scores and getting wickets will auger well for you. It is just to enjoy it. It used to be a high-pressure game in the past and hopefully we can get back that spirit of competitiveness.”
The Northern coach who further explained,
“It is all about man management at this point in time, There is not much we can do with just a couple of days before the actual game. So it is just for them to get in what they want before the match. Some guys have specifics they do before matches and it is just for me to try to man-manage whatever they want and give them what they need before the game.”
North/South Classic Teams are,
NORTH: Darren Bravo (C), Keagan Simmons, Jeremy Solozano, Isaiah Rajah, Amir Jangoo, Yannic Cariah, Tion Webster, Terrance Hinds, Uthman Muhammad, Khary Pierre, Mikkel Govia, Joshua Da Silva, Vikash Mohan, Sion Hackett. Rayad Emrit (coach).
SOUTH: Imran Khan (C), Cephas Cooper, Kjorn Ottley, Navin Bidaisee, Kyle Kissoondath, Jason Mohammed, Jyd Goolie, Bryan Charles, Justin Manick, Shaaron Lewis, Shannon Gabriel, Rajeev Ramnath, Shiva Sankar, Ryan Bandoo. Debideen Manick (coach).