Red Steel to benefit from 'match-winners', says T&T coach Simon Helmot
Port of Spain (Trinidad), May 30 (IANS) Simon Helmot, head coach of Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel, has identified the side's four foreign imports as "match-winners" and believes they could be the key to a successful season in this year's Caribbean Premier League.
Red Steel, who are yet to win the competition, will have in their ranks South Africans Jacques Kallis and Johan Botha, Pakistani wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal and Australian Cameron Delport, reports CMC.
The 2015 CPL bowls off June 20 in Barbados and runs until July 26, across six territories.
"Kamran Akmal is a dynamic top order bat and will be driving the energy behind the stumps. Cameron Delport is an aggressive left-hander who can break a game open at the top of the order," Helmot explained on Friday.
"Most importantly our overseas players -- Kallis, Botha, Delport, and Akmal -- are good people and will integrate well within the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel squad and will be given the freedom to express their skills. All four are match-winners."
Helmot said the acquisition of Kallis especially was a massive fillip for Red Steel, as the player's qualities were exceptional.
Kallis was the finest all-rounder of the contemporary era before his retirement from international cricket last year. He scored 13,289 from 166 Tests with 292 wickets and garnered 11,579 from 328 One-Day Internationals (ODIs), along with 273 wickets.
"Kallis is a world class player. His experience at batting at the top of the order has been exceptional in all formats for many years. His experience and skill will be important for us," said Helmot.
"Botha is a fiercely competitive spinning all-rounder. Teaming up with (Samuel) Badree and (Sulieman) Benn, we believe our spinning contingent is very strong and versatile. Spin is also important on Caribbean wickets."
Red Steel will be led by all-rounder Dwayne Bravo and includes the likes of Miguel Cummins, Kevon Cooper and Jason Mohammed.
The T&T-based outfit has twice reached the semi-finals of the tournament before bowing out and Helmot believes it is time they took that added step.
"This season will be about maintaining momentum and peaking at the right time of the season," said Helmot. "We fell away at the end of the tournament (last year). Injuries, unfortunately, took their toll."
Red Steel start their campaign against St. Lucia Zouks at the Beausejour Cricket Stadium on June 21.