By Neto Baptiste
Six young Antiguan cricketers have been named in a 14-man Leeward Islands squad to contest the Cricket West Indies (CWI) Under-19 tournament slated for 25 July to 11 August in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Elroy FrancisJr. leads the list of national youth players named by the Leeward Islands Cricket Board (LICB) and will act in the capacity of vice-captain to Montserrat’s Zawandi White. The other Antigua players in the squad are Uri Smith, Demari Benta, Paul Miller,Jawaski Josephand Taiem Tonge.
Bodgenarine Sharma, Anderson Amurdan, Carlon Bowen-Tuckett, Jaden Carmichael and Akadianto Willett, all of Nevis, are also included in the squad.
The other members of the team are Kriston Yearwood (Montserrat), and Antonio Fernandes (St. Maarten).
Cricket Operations Manager (COM) with the LICB, Vernon Springer, said the team will play a number of warm-up matches ahead of their departure to St. Vincent.
“We have two games against an Antigua and Barbuda select team which could possibly be an Under- 21 or Under-23 teams at the Police Recreation Grounds on Saturday and Sunday starting at 9:30 a.m. so the Leeward Islands will play against an Antigua and Barbuda select team on Saturday and Sunday in 50 overs, and on Tuesday we will take on the Antigua and Barbuda under-19 team, and that will be our final preparation game before we head out to St. Vincent & the Grenadines,” he said.
Springer explained that the final 14, plus five reserve players, were selected following a camp here in Antigua.
“We started with some 32 or 33 players which is not something I really wanted to go through but because we did not have a tournament that was the make-up of how we came up with the nucleus of 33 players in shore; so we have completed the trial games and we announced [selected] the squad last evening,” he said.
The aim of the tournament, he adds, is to select the best possible team to represent the region at next year’s Under-19 T20 World Cup in South Africa.
“What I think is going to happen is that they will play one round of matches and then they are going to select 44 players out of all of the teams and then they are going to have a breakdown of the 44 players where they are going to divide them up and have them play in a series of games and then they are going to pick 19 players and that 19 is the 19 we’ll be using in terms of preparation for the 20/20 ICC World Cup,” Springer said.
Kadeem Josiah(Antigua and Barbuda), Jelani Manners (Nevis), Tariq Newman (St. Kitts), Javral Warde (St. Kitts) and Aiden Livan (Montserrat) are the reserved players.