CPL: Amazon Warriors “a threat” at home- Patriots coach
By Akeem Greene
Despite having some of the most feared players in T20 cricket, St. Kitts Patriots are not discounting the challenge Guyana Amazon Warriors will pose come Thursday when they play their first match of the 2018 Hero Caribbean Premier League.
After arriving in Guyana on Sunday, the 2017 runners-up got down to business on Monday with their first training session at the National Stadium, Providence, where Head Coach Donavon Miller, speaking exclusively to News Room Sport, explained they are extremely cognisant of the threat Warriors pose, especially at home.
“If you look at the history of this competition, the Warriors have always been there and been unlucky a few times not to win this competition; they are [a] very smart team and they have played some good cricket over the years, so they will be a threat like any of these six franchises,” Miller explained.
Patriots have only played in three of the five years of the Hero Caribbean Premier League and on two of those occasions they finished in the cellar spot. They remodelled their squad in 2017, most notably signing marque player Chris Gayle, who captained them to the final where they lost to Trinbago Knight Riders.
Come match day, the Head Coach wants his players, some of whom had recent exposure in leagues around the globe, to stick to the basics and execute their plans.
“We have done all the preparation. The guys have been here (together) one week and most of our boys have been playing cricket across the world and everyone is prepared and ready to go. I don’t think we need to do that much different [from last year], but just take it each game at a time,” Miller explained.
One impact player the team holds is 18-year-old leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, who will be the first Nepali cricketer to play in the Biggest Party in Sport – until August 26 when he is replaced by Rassie van der Dussan.
The leggie was also the first player from his country to appear in the Indian Premier League where he got a chance in the last three games, picking up five wickets with an impressive economy of 6.83 for Delhi Daredevils.
“He is an exciting youngster obviously and everyone wants to see him; so a big player for us and a very confident lad as well,” Miller shared.
Gayle will continue to partner Evin Lewis at the top and they have in the bank, attacking New Zealander Anton Devcich, big hitting all-rounder Ben Cutting and West Indies’ T20 star Carlos Brathwaite.
However, Gayle and Lewis are the only two batters who were consistently threatening last season. They both scored over 370 runs at strike rates of over 125, but support was lacking as the next best was 151 runs from Brathwaite at an average of 25.16.
In light of the disparity in numbers, the Jamaican-born Miller, who also coaches Essex in the English county system, called for other players to step up.
“If you look at our squad we have made a few (new) signings and we have match winners and hopefully we don’t have to depend on those two big guys [Gayle and Lewis], but if they do come off it’s a bonus and everyone is hungry and willing to go and that is a key thing this year,” the 39-year-old expressed.
St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots full squad reads: Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Ben Cutting, Carlos Brathwaite, Mahmudullah, Anton Devcich, Tom Cooper, Sheldon Cottrell, Brandon King, Devon Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr, Fabian Allen, Sandeep Lamichhane, Shamarh Brooks, Jeremiah Louis, Alzarri Joseph, Ibrahim Khaleel and Glen Javelle.