Two rounds have finished in the 2011 first class season and it looks like it might be a close one this time. We have three teams at the top: England Lions, Jamaica & T&T, all with one win and a draw. Two of this top three will be facing each other this weekend at the Queen Park Oval in Port of Spain. Both teams, the Lions and T&T will have to keep the distractions of the pre carnival activities away for this encounter (good luck with that).
The other leader Jamaica has a not so easy task of taking on the Bajans who sit second to last after losing first innings points in both of their high scoring games. After the third round is finished things might begin to look a bit more open or even tighter at the top, time will tell.
Here is a team by team breakdown:
One win and a draw, they have already shown that batting will be their strong point, the bowling may not be as penatrative as it seemed against the Leeward Islands. In face of a score of 471 by Barbados they applied themselves and went about their task in a professional manner that most other teams would do well to adopt.
Horrible on the first day against Guyana yet still managed to recover to win that game. How did they do it, maybe Sean Devers who was there watching the game unfold could shed some light on the matter. Marlon Samuels is again tempting the region with his undoubted talent, lets hope for the sake of West Indies cricket he is consistant and we may just see him in the side againt Pakistan. My concern is the form of Brendan Nash scores of 29, 25, 0 & 4 may be cause to worry but he still has time in the season to rectify this. Jerome Taylor is back and this can only mean good things, I would like to see him return to the kind of form that destroyed England at Sabina.
Trinidad & Tobago:
Undoubtly blessed by a kind fixture list in which their first three matches are at home, although in both of their games so far they have been pushed to the limit to get the points. The emergence of Shannon Gabriel (10 wkts) and the re-emergence of Rayad Emrit (7 wkts) will be good news for Darren Ganga. Denesh Ramdin is showing form with the bat and his wicketkeeping was never in question, but consistency is the keyword here. Who now after Darren Bravo's reported performance with the glove for the Windies vs Sri Lanka might give him food for thought. If the T&T players dont get distracted by all the carnival activities it could be a good match. Not sure the attendance will be what the cricket board might have hoped for but lets hope for good cricket.
Never did I think the CCC would have done so well and I must say i'm plesently surprised. No longer can they be considered a developmental side that is ripe for the picking, they have shown that they can hold their own. However the perception that they are a Barbados 'B' side is still there, seven players from the side that lost to T&T are from Barbados with the token Trini, Guyaneese & Jamaican thrown in, apparantly collages and campuses exists only in Barbados. Could someone also explain to me why Floyd Reifer is still playing and not concentrating on coaching, his manner of dismissal in the 2nd innings against T&T showed he learned nothing in all his years. Anyhow, keep up the good work CCC and may you grow in strength.
An inexperienced side had Jamaica on the ropes on the first day of the first match but couldnt maintain it over the four days required and eventually lost, and either by poor planning or the need to pay for the Providence stadium their game against the Leewards was 'played' at Bourda. Bourda looked like an island on the Demerara river not a former test ground, while i'm sure whatever concert / event at Providence went off without a hitch. Its unfair to gauge the guyaneese team after one game, lets hope for better luck next time.
Poor against CCC and probably saved by the weather against Jamaica, the Winward islands are like the West Indies of West Indies cricket, you never know which team will show up. A loss and a draw means they have lots of catching up to do, i'm not to sure if they have the fire power to do that. However maybe they will make me eat humble pie or as we trinis like to say "ah put goat mouth on dem".
Poor poor Barbados, never has a side played so good yet stuck so low on the standings, as good as they have played the other side has been slightly better and with Jamaica on Friday, it may not get better in a hurry. It good to see Fidel Edwards back and the scoring of Kirk Edwards, Ryan Hinds and Kraigg Clairmonte Brathwaite have been good. Given the talent in this side I see them making progress as long as they goet too wound up by the other team and poor umpiring decisions.
What can i say about this side, are they still missing Runako Morton or are they just not that good this season. It will be unfair to judge after one completed game so I will not judge and i'll wait until the next match to pass my judgement.
So i'm looking forward to this weekend of cricket when i'm not getting on wotless at the various events taking place this weekend. Till next time......cheers!!!!