Barbados Tridents have always been one of the top sides in the Caribbean Premier League. With the iconic Kensington Oval as their home venue, Tridents possess a wide array of star players and are set to enthrall spectators in the upcoming season as well. Let us take a look at their strengths, weaknesses and what awaits them.
One of the emphasis areas for Barbados was to pick a dynamic batsman who could control the innings and perform consistently against different bowlers. Who better than ‘Mr 360’ AB de Villiers to fulfill those criteria as a marquee player? The fact that Vijay Mallya, his IPL team owner (Royal Challengers Bangalore) had secured a stake in the Tridents helped him acquire a 13,0000$ contract.
The hard-hitting Kieron Pollard who will add plenty of power down the order fetched a whopping 16,0000$. Having already led Tridents to the title in 2014, his captaincy will also be under focus.
Pakistan batsman and part-time off-spinner Shoaib Malik was accorded preference over popular bowlers for 11,0000$. However, Ravi Rampaul’s presence could bolster the bowling attack alongside a plethora of all-rounders.
A strong South African contingent featuring the likes of Robin Peterson, David Wiese and Wayne Parnell indicates that there is likely to be a jostle for spots in the playing eleven. West Indies Test and ODI skipper Jason Holder will also be flanked by one of the stars of the U-19 World Cup Shamar Springer. Off-spinner Ashley Nurse who is a handy batsman as well could turn out to be an X-factor.
Kyle Hope and Steven Taylor are in the fray to take up the opening duties for Barbados. However, if the team management feels that there could be better options down the order, AB de Villiers may move up and shoulder the burden. In a way, this move presents an opportunity to allow him to settle down and do long lasting damage.
The promising Nicholas Pooran is also in contention for a top-order position. Labeled as a precocious talent, the wicket-keeper batsman had to undergo surgery on his left leg after suffering a road accident in early 2015. He will be eager to shake off any rustiness and steal the limelight in the Caribbean competition.
Shoaib Malik is set to anchor the middle-order by utilizing his enormous experience. Having made a successful comeback in the international limited-overs arena, the Pakistani veteran has been a fluent performer for the Tridents over the years and will want to replicate his heroics from the 2014 final.
In spite of his presence, this is one area which could be perceived as their weakness. If de Villiers opens, then the middle-order looks short of depth and might have to fall back on the all-rounders.
Barbados seem to have a problem of plenty in the all-rounders department with explosive cricketers such as Pollard, Holder, Nurse having the capability to contribute with both bat and ball.
David Wiese’s assortment of slower deliveries and off-cutters are tailor made for the abrasive pitches in West Indies. But, the surprise package could very well be relatively obscure cricketers like Raymon Reifer.
Though Rampaul is almost 32 and out of favor with the national selectors, the brevity of the 20-overs format could rejuvenate him. Capable of bowling sharp spells, his handling of the new-ball could be a vital asset.
He might be complemented well by Parnell who is the only renowned left-arm pacer in the set-up while Peterson's credentials as a reliable limited-overs spinner precede him. Watch out for the 18-year old Shamar Springer’s inimitable chest-roll celebration.
Kieron Pollard (Captain), AB de Villiers, Shoaib Mallik, Nicolas Pooran, Ravi Rampaul, David Wiese, Robin Pietersen, Raymon Reifer, Ashley Nurse, Wayne Parnell, Akeil Hosein, Imran Khan, Kyle Hope, Naveen Stewart, Kyle Corbin, Steven Taylor, Shamar Springer, Jason Holder
Owner : UB Spirits Pvt. Limited
Captain : Kieron Pollard
Home : Kensington Oval, Barbados
History : 2013- 3rd Place, 2014- Champions, 2015- Runners-up
The onus is on senior campaigners to lead from the front and the expectations should be pretty high as Barbados have a proud cricketing culture. Even though the middle-order remains short on depth, the presence of numerous aggressive all-rounders makes them strong contenders.
Due to the condensed nature of the event, Tridents will have to implode spectacularly if they do not make the playoffs.
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