Miller takes aim at another CPL title with Trinbago Knight Riders


Miller takes aim at another CPL title with Trinbago Knight Riders

Senior staff reporter

Thursday, August 06, 2020

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Jamaican Nikita Miller, appointed assistant coach for Trinbago Knight Riders, says he expects a highly competitive 2020 Caribbean Premier League (CPL), with his team among those well-placed to dethrone Barbados Tridents.

“We will be gunning for the champions this year, and we'll be coming from a more relaxed position, but it will be no easy feat. When you're the champions and are being chased it's a little more difficult,” he told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

The Knight Riders, who won CPL titles in 2015, 2017 and 2018, are the most successful team in the region's marquee Twenty20 (T20) tournament, followed by Jamaica Tallawahs (2013 and 2016) and the Tridents (2014 and 2019).

Guyana Jaguars have been to a record five finals in the competition's seven-year history, but are yet to clear the decisive hurdle.

Miller, the retired spin bowler, won titles as a player for the Tallawahs as well as the Trinidad-based franchise.

This year's tournament is scheduled for Trinidad and Tobago from August 18 to September 10.

“We'll really have to work hard if we are to get the job done. But I believe we have the tools, and we're playing in Trinidad in familiar conditions,” Miller, the assistant to New Zealander Brendon McCullum, said via a telephone interview from his base in Trinidad.

“Guyana, last year, mounted a serious challenge, but fell at the final. Barbados are champions, while Jamaica, the former champions, had a disappointing season last year. But all these teams are looking to do it, even the teams that haven't won it or not been to a final before — I think the Zouks are the only ones who haven't been to a final,” he continued.

The competition was scheduled to be staged across venues in the region between August 19 and September 26, but changes were forced due to the virus, which causes the COVID-19 disease.

Matches will instead be held behind closed doors inside only two venues — Queen's Park Oval in the capital Port of Spain and Brian Lara Cricket Stadium in Tarouba.

Some regional players had a feel of that scenario during last month's historic three-Test series between England and visitors West Indies, which featured empty stadia and biosecure arrangements to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus.

While accepting the unique circumstances, Miller said he is relishing the opportunity.

“Playing behind closed doors will be a very strange place for a lot of us, excluding the players who were in England playing in a biosecure environment. I'm sure it will be a challenge for a lot of us as it's a new experience, but I expect people to adapt. Currently, we are in quarantine for 14 days, but hopefully we'll be ready for this sort of environment and situation.

“I'm excited to be working in the CPL for the first time in this capacity as assistant coach. I'll be working alongside Brendon McCullum, no stranger, as we played a couple a years ago for the same franchise. It should be an exciting one — I can't wait to get cracking,” he told the Observer.

The Knight Riders are slated to begin their campaign against the Amazon Warriors on the tournament's opening day.

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