BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Denesh Ramdin returned to the Digicel Regional 4-Day Championship scene for the first time in three years with a bang.
The Trinidad & Tobago Red Force captain hammered a first innings hundred and followed up with a half-century in the second innings to earn the Player-of-the-Match award, as his side earned a draw with fierce rivals Barbados Pride in their first-round match which ended on Sunday at Kensington Oval here.
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Ramdin, a former Windies captain, passed 6,000 first-class career runs during the match and said it was exciting be back on the park for this format of the game, after a long period and playing white-ball matches around the globe.
“I wasn’t sure if I would have been able to concentrate long enough to be successful, but it appears that I still have something left in the tank,” he said.
“I was able to spend collectively five to six hours in the middle, which is good, and so hopefully I will be able to get better and better as the season wears on. I however, am hoping that the younger players can step up and take some pressure off me, so that we can get into better positions and win some games.”
Just four balls were possible on the first day of the match, after Red Force were sent in to bat.
They returned the following day to post 300 in their first innings, with Ramdin scoring 101, before the Pride gained a 10-run lead in reply and declared with nine wickets down.
Ramdin, opener Amir Jangoo and Ewart Nicholson hit second innings half-centuries to prompt a Red Force declaration on 257 for five just 10 minutes before tea on the final day, which ended with the home team reaching 117 for four.
On the result of the match, Ramdin said: “I am happy with the team effort. One day was lost due to rain which we would have loved to have played to see what would have been the outcome.
“Several of our young batsmen stood up and got ‘starts’, but failed to carry on. With the experience of myself batting with the middle order and lower order, we got a decent first innings total, and we have stressed the importance of putting the runs on the board during the first innings, so there will be less pressure on the bowlers.
“We backed it up in the second innings, but we needed a bit more time to try and bowl out the opposition on a good pitch.”
On the confidence the Red Force gained from the match, he said: “We take a lot. The batsmen pout runs on the board and the bowlers were able to take wickets on a good pitch. Playing the Pride in Barbados, we would take this draw, although the last contest we had at this venue, we won.
“We are happy with the result. We will go back home now, reassess and try to make the most of our home games coming up to get some victories under our belt.”
On the major take-away from the match, Ramdin said: “Highlighting to the younger batsmen in the squad that if you get a ‘start’, the importance to the team and the value of being able to carry on. If you get a good ball from a bowler, there’s not much you can do, but getting a ‘start’ and giving their hands away, they need to improve.
“There will be days when they may get a harsh decision or things not going your way, so it’s important for them to understand that they have to make the best use of each opportunity that they are given.”
On the next match, he said: “We play the Scorpions at the Brian Lara Cricket Ground. It’s a good surface for batsmen, so I expect it will be a high-scoring match. We expect that it will be competitive because they typically play tough and put up good fight.
“We will need to reassess, and put up good totals on the board and wickets will come with our bowling, if we can bowl more in partnerships. We were a bit rusty in this first match, but we are looking to come better and harder in the second game.”