St. John’s Antigua- Three Antiguans have been named in a 14-member Leeward Islands team that will contest the WICB’s regional Under-17 cricket tournament which is slated to bowl off this weekend in Tobago.
Right-handed batsman Tyrone Williams Jr who is the younger brother of recently passed former West Indies batsman Runako Morton heads the list, while fast bowlers Alzarri Joseph and Shavon Moore complete the roster of Antiguan youngsters selected for the sub-regional squad.
A total of four Nevisian players in Colin Archibald, Saeed Williams, Hakeem Harvey and Ross Powell will make the trip to Tobago, while two players from St Kitts, Jeremiah Louis and Shane Venner are also included.
The other selectees are Shawn Tuitt, Shaka Sobers and Dion West all of Montserrat along with Asharn Hodge and Mark Gokarran of Anguilla.
The team will be coached by former West Indies pacer Winston Benjamin who will be assisted by former national cricketer Pernel Watley. Watley will also act in the capacity of team manager.
Benjamin, during an interview, expressed concerns over both the physical and mental readiness of the team.
“It started below par in a sense. The guys are still basically finding themselves. The intensity that you are looking for you are not really getting it. You have to be pushing them (and) it’s not a really good sign especially with Under-17 players. You expect them to be full of energy at least. There is one or two of them that you can see are involved in structural cricket in terms of playing and training and so forth, but there are quite a few of them who are still behind the eight ball,” he said.
He did, however, commend the players for their discipline thus far as they finetune their preparations for the inaugural tournament.
“This group here is very disciplined and we haven’t had any problems with anyone of them; and you know with young boys there are times when they get hot under the collar. But so far, I can honestly say that we haven’t had any incidents. We had two minor scares in terms of injury: our spinner, on the first day, had problems with his groin and his hamstring, and yesterday (Wednesday) the wicketkeeper was a bit sore so we are taking a close look at that situation to see what’s going on,” Benjamin said.
As for results coming out of the tournament, the coach said his first concern is that the players simply get it right.
“Whenever I am dealing with youth, I just want them to learn the game properly. I want to see that they understand what they are doing. Winning, too, is important but it is not the be all and the end all at this point. And don’t get me wrong, we are going down there to compete and if you know me well, you know that losing is not part of my psyche,” he said.
The team is slated to leave for Tobago on Friday evening and will play their first match on Sunday when they take on Trinidad and Tobago.
On July 3, Leeward Islands will toss up against Jamaica before playing Guyana one day later. The sub-regional squad will then face the Windward Islands on July 6 before rounding off the schedule on July 7 against Barbados.
The team returns home on July 8.