Coach of the Cool & Smooth T20 All Stars and former West Indies fast bowler, Kenneth “Flipper” Benjamin, is predicting that his players will match, pound per pound, International stars like Chris Gayle, Samuel Badree and Carlos Brathwaite during a one-off T20 clash against the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots here on Monday night.
According to Benjamin, who coached the PIC Liberta Blackhawks to a third straight Cool & Smooth T20 Explosion title this year, pound per pound, the local players are just as good where it pertains to ability.
“I believe ability is equal but what these guys [Patriot] probably have is the understanding and the belief. It would come down to confidence because they have played at a higher level over a period of time. Our guys may still believe there is something for them to prove but if you were to look at the teams and at ability individually, you’d probably see it isn’t a wide gap,” he said.
The match, which will be played at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground starting at 7pm, will feature top national players such as Stanny Simon, recently selected by the Leeward Island’s Hurricanes and Avier Christian.
Preparations, Benjamin said, are on course despite some early delays pertaining to pitch preparations. He highlighted running between the wickets as one of the main areas of concentration.
“It is very important that, and especially in the shorter version, every run is important so you would want to maximize that. Before that we had some good sessions when we started last week Wednesday so we had Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday which were quite good,” the coach said.
“Obviously, John Archibald came in on Sunday and intensified the fielding so I must say that apart from the last few days in terms of the batting aspect that we have been going quite well,” he added.
As for strategy, the former national player said that is a work in progress.
“We are just in the process of getting the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots team so we could start looking at players and see who we are going to target and what the strategy is going into the game on Monday. As a team, we have our plans and as individuals, they have their plans as well,” he said.
“I heard Sir Viv called in and he was very right in that people are looking within the region and even outside for layers and so this is an opportunity. If a player goes there and he performs well, it will benefit the team and it will benefit him,” Benjamin added.
Monday night’s contest carries an admission fee of $20 while children will enter for free.