YOUTH AND EXPERIENCE PORT-OF-SPAIN (CMC): Windward Islands Volcanoes will launch the defence of their Regional Super50 title when they clash with a star-studded Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in the tournament curtain-raiser at Queen’s Park Oval today Despite the low-key build-up, the October 3-28 championship holds special significance for players as they will be bidding to impress ahead of next year’s ICC 50-over World Cup in England. As such, Red Force will boast the likes of Dwayne and Darren Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine and Lendl Simmons, all of whom have been out of West Indies colours for extended periods and for varying reasons. Their return adds flavour and anticipation to the tournament, and Red Force skipper Denesh Ramdin said their presence also made the 11-time champions formidable opponents. “Having the likes of the Bravos, Pollard, Narine, Simmons – a very well-experienced unit – it means less work for me in managing these guys. They know what they’re about and it’s about executing team plans,” the former Test captain explained. Red Force also boast attacking West Indies opener Evin Lewis in their ranks, along with pinch-hitter Nicholas Pooran, Jason Mohammed, Rayad Emrit and veteran seamer Ravi Rampaul. As expected, the hosts stand out in Group A which also comprise Guyana Jaguars, West Indies B and Canada, and Ramdin agrees with Red Force being labelled favourites even though he made it clear they would not underestimate any team. “When you look at the calibre of players that we have … we’ll have to take that label [of favourites] and perform on the field and continue to work hard as a team,” he stressed. Volcanoes, meanwhile, despite stunning Barbados Pride in last year’s final to win their fourth title, will understandably start today’s contest as underdogs. But captain Shane Shillingford said Volcanoes possessed a strong squad with good, young players, and would not be intimidated by the likes of Red Force or Jaguars. “In general, we’re just going to play cricket; we don’t play names. Everybody starting at one point to get to where they are, so we’re just going to play cricket and look out for good things to come,” the former West Indies off-spinner noted. Shillingford will look to young players like all-rounder Kavem Hodge and batsmen Alick Athanaze and Roland Cato, to repeat their performances from the last tournament, and will also have the experience of Devon Smith, Kirk Edwards and Kesrick Williams, all of whom have West Indies experience. Last season, Volcanoes were an unfancied side, especially after losing their first three matches of the competition. In the other match of the double-header, Canada clash with West Indies B at the Brian Lara Stadium. Group B, which bowls off in Barbados on Thursday, features the likes of Pride, Leeward Islands Hurricanes, Jamaica Scorpions, United States, and Combined Campuses and Colleges.