The Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) won't be backing off from anyone when they come face-to-face with the region's best in the upcoming Caribbean T20 tournament.
Floyd Reifer, the experienced player/coach, is of the opinion that inexperience has affected his charges in the past, but said he has seen a steely resolve which has been evident in recent months, and his players have grown in the game.
An example of this happened earlier this week when they went toe-to-toe with Barbados at the 3Ws Oval on a two-match series. Two new faces - seamer Keswick Williams from St Vincent and left-arm spinner Derone Davis from Trinidad - were the stand-out players and are expected to feature prominently in the coming weeks.
"Inexperience comes out a lot, especially under pressure. Pressure brings the best out of people, sometimes it brings the worst out of people," said Reifer, as his team prepared for the tournament. "I try to teach my guys how to handle the pressure and how to operate under pressure. One thing you don't do under pressure is panic.
"Once you push that panic button, you're dead! What we don't want to do is push the panic button. We try our best to remain as calm as possible while analysing the situation all the time and again. That's where roles come into play. You have guys that play certain roles."
Reifer, who is a former Barbados stalwart and 2009 West Indies captain, has been a stabilising force in the CCC.
"To be fair to CCC, I think we have played some of the best T20 cricket in the Caribbean T20. In that first year, when the tournament started, we tied with Barbados twice chasing 180," he said.
historically close finish
Back then, on a tension-filled night at Kensington Oval, Reifer belted a boundary off the last ball of the innings as a courageous CCC outfit chased down Barbados' 180 to finish with scores level. In the one-over eliminator, CCC seemed to have the upper hand in defending 16 runs until Romel Currency stepped on the boundary ropes in taking a catch off the final ball, giving the Bajans the six runs they needed to tie the game again and win the contest by virtue of the superior number of sixes during the innings. This remains the closest finish in Caribbean T20.
Reifer added: "It (T20) is a new game to a lot of the guys. The guys are improving, but one of the things that hamper us all the time is that we can't keep a team together. Once a guy comes to CCC and he shines, his particular territory is going to take him up. I know our mandate is to produce cricketers for the territories, but I would love to have a set team for at least three years and I'm sure we could win a major title."
This year, CCC will have big allrounder Jason Holder, fast bowler Kevin McClean and stylish wicketkeeper/batsman Kyle Corbin, who all came through the Sagicor High Performance Centre programme and were members of the West Indies A Team which beat India A last year. Experienced keeper, Jamaica's Chadwick Walton, and off-spinner Ryan Austin, who featured in Test matches against Bangladesh back in 2009, are in the squad as well.
- Windies Media