TKR out of CPL 2022 – What happened?

by Sachin Ramsubhag

The most successful team in the history of the second most watched T20 tournament in the world, waved the white flag earlier than expected… or was it?

Let’s wheel the turntables and come and again. The Trinbago Knight Riders began the hype early in June when the teams were officially released. Statements of “bulldozer power” and “unbeatable squad” reigned in the weeks leading up to September. However, with high expectations comes tons of pressure. Did the pressure of expectation result in the TKR’s early demise? Or in the words of skipper Pollard, “We simply played poor cricket and we don’t deserve to be in the playoffs.” Let it be known while I am Trini to the bone, I am a neutral writer LOL!

The Knights began as expected with a victory in their first game. They then went off tangent, to lose four games on the trot away from home. The TKR die-hard fans who project themselves as superior, were put on an earthward journey from cloud nine. In the words of Trinidad Killa, they had to “come down from dey!” More importantly, those four crushing defeats away from home, gave the other five teams full confidence moving forward.

Now if you have ever been to a T20 game in Trinidad, I am sure you will agree with me, it’s an experience that’s worth every dime (not sure about the all-inclusive sections).  The Social Media posts from the TKR camp boasted about the “Knights gearing up.” Unfortunately, those gears needed some lubrication, against the big block Barbados Royals. This made it five in a row and the fans were not amused.

Low and behold, the knights had to walk through the valley of the shadow of death and their biggest fear was conquered, achieving two wins in front of thousands which happened to be their last hoorah.

With three wins from ten games, no hail Marys or Vedic mantras could have assisted the power plant TKR. But what seems to be the issue? Well, if I had the answer to that, I would have been the TKR’s coach or manager rather than sitting atop Trinidad’s Central Range writing this piece, but before you close off this tab, I will give my honest and educated opinion on the topic.

The notion of unbeatable clearly was taken off the books. The big skipper agreed on many occasions that on paper, the TKR is the strongest squad. This is not the place to be extremely analytical. Truth be told, the TKR lacked the team spirit this year that was evident every other year. The passion, the drive, and the intensity to wrap their vice grip around the opposition was almost nonexistent. I will confess, that Polly looks to be mentally tired. Though only 35 years, he has played more cricket than a fifty-year-old. Time away from family, along with the rigors of the game has taken its toll. Is it time for him to step down? Well, he already has from the international level. Need I go further? The same goes for Muscle Russell, whose kryptonite was on “E”. Moreover, with this many personalities and greats of the T20 game, it is a monumental task to ensure all the energies are synced together to create that synergy of a well-oiled machine. Balance is essential for victories!

Pollard was still positive heading to Guyana after Saint Lucia Kings loss at Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Trinidad & Tobago

While The Pollards, Narines and Russells do well for TV and popularity, Caribbean fans love to see effort and passion even in defeat. The lackluster demeanor of the TKR “seniors” seemed to have made its way to the eyes of all. Is it time for new blood and halt the continuous trend of having the same players time and time again? The exuberance of youth surely has its impacts.

We wait patiently to see if changes will occur eight months from now. Just to remind you, while the Amazon Warriors are now the talk of the town, they are yet to have a single title, but the TKR knows what it takes to win. After all, they have done it four times. King Khan and his management will have their work cut out in the next few months, to ensure the great history of the Knight Riders franchise remains intact.

SachinSachin is a broadcaster by profession, for both radio and TV. He is the sports anchor for TTT Limited, radio announcer at Taj 92.3fm, freelance international cricket commentator and TV presenter

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