DAVID Furlonge believes he can change the fortunes of the TT Red Force four-day team and said despite having the portfolio of both head coach and chief selector, he is not a one-man show as he takes the opinions of the other selectors seriously.
Red Force ended their 2023 West Indies Four-Day Championships with a nine-wicket victory over Jamaica Scorpions, on day three, in the final round at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba on Friday.
It was another disappointing campaign for the Red Force as the TT franchise ended with one win, two losses and two draws. It is uncertain where Red Force will finish in the standings as the other two final-round matches are still taking place. Red Force were fifth in the six-team standings before the last round bowled off on Wednesday.
Reflecting on the victory, Furlonge said, “It is bitter-sweet, but it is always good (to win). That’s what we wanted to do. We wanted to end with a high and that is what we did.”
Red Force made a few changes from the last round, including debutant Kamil Pooran, experienced West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel and all-rounder Terrance Hinds. Furlonge was glad the changes made a difference.
Furlonge remains optimistic he can lead the Red Force to success in the four-day competition. TT have not won that competition in 17 years.
“Yes (we can win), I still believe so. We will meet to discuss what went wrong….hopefully in 2024 we see the return of two rounds of cricket, so if you make an error in the first round you can correct it in the second round.”
Furlonge said he listens to his fellow selectors and said he can manage the roles of both coach and selector. “When we go to select a team, it is a group of four other guys…they have been excellent in their suggestions and ideas. I get their opinions first and then we discuss it…It is a hard job, but I am coping well with it.”
Former TT opening batsman Deonarine Deyal, former TT wicket-keeper Gibran Mohammed, administrator Frank Simmons and the Red Force captain are the other selectors.
Scorpions, resuming on 199/5 on Friday in their second innings, attacked the Red Force bowlers in the morning session. After a 45-minute late start due to rain, Abhijai Mansingh and Aldaine Thomas were not shy to play shots.
The pair combined to give the Scorpions a fighting chance adding 61 runs for the sixth-wicket. But Gabriel got the breakthrough when he bowled Mansingh for 32 off 54 balls (four fours). The innings folded quickly. Thomas fell two overs later as Gabriel bowled him for 39 off 58 deliveries (six fours, one six). Leg spinner Imran Khan then went to work grabbing the final three wickets as Scorpions were dismissed for 275, setting Red Force a small victory target of 99.
Pooran and opener Vikash Mohan, 28, put on 74 for the first wicket in a partnership interrupted by rain multiple times. Pooran, with many of his family and friends in attendance, fell for 39 when he was bowled by part-time medium pacer Jermaine Blackwood. Mohan, who got a life when he was dropped at backward point, ended on 44 not out off 66 balls and Red Force captain Darren Bravo was unbeaten on 14.
Scorpions were last before the final round bowled off and remained at the foot of the table.
TT RED FORCE 302 (Terrance Hinds 94, Anderson Phillip 63; Derval Green 3/56, Marquino Mindley 2/56, Jeavor Royal 2/60, Ojay Shields 2/72) and 102/1 (Vikash Mohan 44 not out, Kamil Pooran 39) vs JAMAICA SCORPIONS 125 (D Green 39; Tion Webster 5/36, T Hinds 3/40, A Phillip 2/13) and 275 (Jermaine Blackwood 68, Leroy Lugg 66; Imran Khan 4/47, A Phillip 2/46, Shannon Gabriel 2/52, Bryan Charles 2/75)