Energetic off-spinner, Ashley Nurse, has backed the Barbados Tridents to repeat as champions of the Limacol Caribbean Premier League (CPL) when the new season bowls off next month.

Nurse, a key component of the Tridents set-up, believes the unity in the camp, along with the balanced nature of the squad, will make the title-holders difficult to beat in the upcoming tournament, which runs from June 20th to July 26th.

This year’s curtain-raiser features the Barbados Tridents against the Guyana Amazon Warriors, in a repeat of last year’s final, with Kensington Oval hosting three more matches in the opening week against the Jamaica Tallawahs, the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel, and the St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots. With sell-out crowds expected, Tridents fans are being urged to buy tickets early, at, to guarantee their place watching the defending champions.

“We are always confident in the Tridents camp. The guys who selected the teams – Robin Singh, Polly (Kieran Pollard) and the legend himself, Desmond Haynes, always pick role players because they know what they really want, so they picked certain players to fill certain positions,” Nurse said.

As a result, I think this year’s team is really well balanced, one of the best in the tournament, and equipped to take home the trophy this year.”

Last season, the Tridents opened with a loss to the Red Steel, but rebounded to win three straight. However, they then lost two of their next three fixtures and were in danger of missing out on the playoffs.

With a big effort required, the Tridents pulled together as a team to crush the Red Steel and the Tallawahs in their remaining matches, and book their spot in the final where they subsequently beat Guyana Amazon Warriors in an exciting contest at Warner Park.

The Tridents always thrive on team work – the idea of one team and togetherness – and after losing the first couple of games, we really came together and wrapped ourselves around each other,” the Barbados and West Indies player explained.

As the saying goes, a chain is as strong as its weakest link. Everyone came together in one team effort and you would realise we beat three teams on the trot to lift the cup. We thrive on being a team so teamwork is always the key in the Tridents set-up.

By his standards, Nurse had a relatively quiet season with just five wickets in nine matches. Crucially, however, his best performances came in back-to-back victories against the Red Steel and the Tallawahs. He took one wicket and conceded just nine runs in three overs as the Red Steel were routed for 105, and took two for 16 to help bowl out the Tallawahs for 87.

The 26-year-old said he is focussed on stepping up this season, both with the ball and bat. “Last year I had a quiet CPL. I was one of the breakthrough players in the first edition so this year I just want to be as consistent as possible and get back to where I was in the first tournament, contributing as much as I can to help Tridents to retain the CPL title,” he stressed.

Also, every time I come to the crease, I believe I can get the job done with the bat. I don’t just pigeon-hole myself as just a bower, I believe that I am an all-rounder, so when I get the opportunity with the bat, I just try to contribute as many runs as I can.”

The Limacol CPL features six franchises – Barbados Tridents, Jamaica Tallawahs, Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel, St. Lucia Zouks, Guyana Amazon Warriors and new boys, St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots, contesting 33 matches.

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