DESPITE an average performance with the bat for Trinidad and Tobago Red Force at last year’s West Indies Championship, and most recently at the North South Classic, favoured opening batsman Jeremy Solozano, 27, remains motivated ahead of another bumper year for cricket.
The left-handed batsman, alongside Red Force teammates and coaching staff, touched down in Grenada on Saturday ahead of their first four-day fixture against Windward Islands Volcanoes at the Grenada National Stadium on Tuesday.
Solozano scored 66, four and 14 in three of last year’s five regional championship matches and then struck one run and an unbeaten 28 in North’s ten-wicket victory over South at the recent domestic trial match.
However, in June 2022, he scored an impressive 92 for Cricket West Indies President’s XI against Bangladesh. The match ended up drawn with the Caribbean team only able to bat once.
Although he has not always been the most impactful with the bat, Solozano believes the upcoming four-day competition will provide him with the stage to showcase his prowess as a top-order batsman.
‘Solo’ is among a quartet of potential Red Force openers, inclusive of newcomer Vikash Mohan, Tion Webster and Imran Khan, who is in line to possibly lead the charge at the 2023 tourney.
Looking back on his recent North South performance, Solozano said, “I didn’t really get the scores I wanted but I prefer to get them when it really matters. I put that behind me and just looking forward to getting some scores and getting some runs under my belt.
“This year I’m going to go out there and enjoy my cricket. The result will take care of itself. I know what I want and supposed to do, and once I do those things the results will come.”
Solozano said the team spirit is high and the players are eager to go out there and perform for TT. Red Force have not won this competition since 2005 and capturing the elusive prize, this time around has been a hot topic in the dressing room.
“The squad’s mentality is just positivity. I have a clear mind right now, thinking positive and looking forward to go out there and perform for the team and the nation. The energy has been there for the team and they’re all willing and looking forward to it.”
Solozano also credited Red Force head coach David Furlonge’s approach to bolstering the team’s batting confidence by having them spend days out in the middle working on their craft.
Inconsistent batting has always plagued the Red Force in this format and Furlonge sought to address this issue by giving his players a chance to spend more time on the pitch.
He added, “Training has been training a lot of hours for the past few weeks, basically, whole day. The coach gave us a lot of time out in the middle as batsmen and I think this was beneficial to me and my teammates.
“Spending time out in the middle, that’s where you want to be. So the more you bat out there, the better you’d be in the game.”
“We just have to use our experience to go out there and score runs consistently, and play consistently in all aspects of the game. That’s what we’ve been instilling for the past couple weeks. Everyone is on the same mission.”