Reifer banks on teamwork as Tallawahs bowl off CPL against St Lucia KingsFriday, August 27, 2021
Head Coach Floyd Reifer says he is banking on the overall team strength to propel Jamaica Tallawahs in this season's Caribbean Premier League (CPL) instead of them relying on any single player.
The two-time former winners Tallawahs are to open their CPL Twenty20 (T20) campaign against St Lucia Kings at Warner Park in Basseterre, St Kitts, starting this morning at 9:00 Jamaica time.
“There are always x-factors in the team, but what we are focusing on is playing a solid team game. When you play as a unit you tend to win more games…we are focusing more on team performance,” Reifer said on Monday during a virtual press conference from the team's base in St Kitts and Nevis.
He insisted that team chemistry will be essential, even if the Jamaican-based franchise is blessed with top-rated all-rounder Andre Russell in its line-up.
“Obviously, when you've got a guy like Andre Russell in your side he can also win games on his own. But I think we have a very good team, we have experienced guys who have played around the circuit.
“It's just a matter of us gelling off the field so we can get it right on the field as well. There are always times that some players will come with the exceptional performances — we've got players capable of doing that. But we'll be focusing on that team effort in order to win us cricket games consistently,” the Tallawahs coach said.
He noted the important roles that Russell and fellow all-rounders Carlos Brathwaite and Rovman Powell; batsman Chadwick Walton; and pacer Fidel Edwards will have as senior players, all with West Indies experience.
“We still have the core of the team in Rovman, Chadwick, Russell [and] Carlos was there last year and we've got Fidel as well. Yes, we have new faces… I'm looking forward to seeing these guys play. The energy is good in the camp, the vibe is good,” said Reifer.
The 2021 CPL Twenty20 (T20) began yesterday and is to end on September 15. The Tallawahs, who enjoyed title-winning campaigns in 2013 and 2016, are regarded perennial contenders, however, the Trinbago Knight Riders, despite losing the tournament opener against Guyana Amazon Warriors yesterday, are the favourites.
The Tallawahs had a woeful tournament in Trinidad and Tobago last year, but managed to finish fourth in the six-team preliminary stage before they were eliminated by eventual champions Knight Riders in the semi-finals.
Reifer said limited preparation due to bio-secure guidelines — which will also be in effect this season to minimise transmission of the novel coronavirus — contributed to some dismal displays last season.
“I won't judge the team harshly on last year because the conditions and the pitches weren't what guys were accustomed to in previous years. Last year with the whole COVID situation everything that happened was new.
“Bubble life was new to the boys, a lot of them never had preparation coming into the tournament because of the lockdowns in the various territories in the Caribbean. The situation here is kind of similar, but most of the boys have had some cricket behind them before coming into the tournament,” the former Barbados and West Indies batsman explained.
He noted that teams will again have challenges since all matches will be played at the Warner Park venue.
“We all know that when you play all those games in a short period of time on one square eventually you're going to have wear and tear on the pitches. We expect that the second half of the tournament the pitches will start to turn a lot. I think it's only five pitches on the square and all these games playing in a short space of time, so it's not a lot of time for the pitches to recover and for the ground staff to put in all the work,” Reifer reasoned.
Squad: Rovman Powell, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Haider Ali, Chadwick Walton, Fidel Edwards, Qais Ahmed, Jason Mohammad, Migael Pretorius, Chris Green, Kennar Lewis, Veerasammy Permaul, Abhijai Mansingh, Joshua James, Kirk McKenzie, Ryan Persaud, Shamarh Brooks.
— Sanjay Myers