Northern Warriors, the new entrants to the T10 league, have ticked all the boxes to be ready to vie for top honours in the second edition of the showpiece. Plotting their campaign are two battle-scarred veterans — Robin Singh, the coach who has been associated with many countries and franchises across the world including the Mumbai Indians, and Darren Sammy, the West Indian skipper who guided the Caribbeans to the Twenty20 World Cup twice.
The Warriors have a real Caribbean flavour, rightly so, as the players from the West Indies are the most sought-after by franchises across the world in the shorter formats. Nine of the 16-member squad are from the West Indies and most of them like Rovman Powell, Obed McCoy and Khary Pierre, have taken part in the recently concluded series against India, which should have helped these Caribbean Gen-Next players immensely.
Speaking to Gulf News at the Robin Singh Sports Academy at Iranian Club, the former India all-rounder said: “Over the years the West Indians have proven to be the best in the shorter formats. They have gone on to win many World Cups.”
Much will depend on the dangerous all-rounder Andre Russell, who has been the mainstay of Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League. Openers Dwayne Smith and Lendl Simmons are likely to give the required impetus along with the in-form Nicolas Pooran, who scored an unbeaten half-century against India in the final Twenty20 in Chennai last week. England’s Ravi Bopara lends the team the desired flexibility as he completes an impressive list of all-rounders.
“It is more of a batsman’s game but skill is of utmost importance,” Robin Singh said. “Those who are innovative have been the best. The guys who are skilful, especially bowlers like Wahab Riaz, contributed to the success last year.”
Pakistan left-arm pacer Riaz is likely to spearhead the bowling attack with able support from the six-foot two-inch tall Harry Gurney from England with McCoy being the third left-arm paceman in the team.
The spin department wears a varied look and that includes Australian off-spinner Chris Green and left-arm spinner Pierre, who won the Man of the Match award in the Caribbean Premier League final. Complementing them in the spin department are the UAE’s leg-spinner Imran Haider and young left-arm spinner Rahul Bhatia. Punjab all-rounder Amitoze Singh completes the line-up.
Coach Singh has set the bar higher after becoming the first coach to win the T10 league with Kerala Kings winning the title in the inaugural edition last year. Asked what would be the key to success in this format, he said: “Not many T10 leagues are played across the globe, so getting to understand is important. It’s all about skills. One has to be on the button from ball one when you bowl and while batting, you need to choose the areas where you can hit the ball as soon as you go in. No time to settle in. So it is pure skill and execution,” he added.
What are his personal targets with the new team this season? “To win the second one,” he signed off.