ST JOHN’S, Antigua – National cricketer and captain of the Leeward Islands cricket team, Sylvester “Bouncing” Joseph, said he would welcome the opportunity to represent the region at the international level once more.
The top-order batsman, who ended his three and a half year retirement from all forms of cricket in March of this year, believes he still has what it takes to play at the elite level and would not turn down an opportunity to play for the West Indies squad.
“I think I have a lot to offer and I think I am playing the best cricket that I have ever played at this time. In terms of my experience and confidence, there is no pressure. I am more relaxed, more comfortable with my game and surroundings, so I am more at ease right now so I can play as freely as I possibly can,” Joseph said.
“I think I have a lot to offer, not only to West Indies cricket but more importantly I think that Leeward Islands cricket, right now, is in a transitional stage and I think it is the right time now for me to be back so we can propel Leeward Islands cricket that we have a lot to offer in West Indies cricket.”
Joseph, who played his last of five Tests for the West Indies in England in 2007, announced his official retirement from international cricket in 2008.
The right-handed batsman is, however, actively preparing for the Caribbean Twenty20 set to bowl off on Sunday in Trinidad and Tobago and St Lucia and he believes that the sub-regional squad will do well this time around.
“The guys are responding really well to me. Most of them, if not all, are very prepared for the competition. The fact that they had the Leeward Islands competition and selected a team early I think the guys doing their individual stuff at home really paid off and with the plans that are in place for going forward for Leeward Islands cricket I think we are on target,” Joseph said.
Leeward Islands will open their campaign against Barbados on January 7 at Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad before squaring off against Trinidad and Tobago two days later.
Joseph hopes for a competitive opening fixture.
“I hope it is going to be a good competitive game. I think we have a good all-round team. We have good bowlers and pretty good batters as well, and we also have some top-class spinners; so it is really for us to play in the moment and don’t get (overwhelmed) by the situation with the television and the crowd and so forth and the intensity of the game. It is just for us to keep our cool and to exercise our skills, to apply what we have learnt and play according to the situation of the game,” he said.
The Leeward Island team is coached by former West Indies player Stuart Williams and managed by Junie Mitchum of St Kitts & Nevis.