By Neto Baptiste
Two young cricketers, wicketkeeper batsman Damari Benta and all-rounder Elroy Francis Jr will spend two months in England as part of an exchange programme piloted by the East Midlands Lord’s Taverners in Nottinghamshire.
The players, who both represent the Pigotts Crushers in the domestic cricket programme, were chosen by Keith Williams, Chairman of East Midlands Lord’s Taverners following an assessment and interview process conducted last week.
Williams said the process of selected the two players proved difficult but that both Benta and Francis rose to the top.
“First off, all of the boys we saw both at the trials and that we interviewed were all fantastic. I am sad we can only take two but we have limited funds but I think they both came across as being open to the change and wanting to come to England. They communicated well and we are very enthusiastic,” he said.
As part of the initiative which also involves Antigua and Barbuda’s High Commissioner Karen-Mae Hill and sports minister, Daryll Matthew, two cricketers from England — Sam Foster and Tom Rock — are currently in Antigua representing the Combined Schools cricket team in the Two Day tournament being hosted by the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA).
Rock said the visit is two-fold.
“As well as the cricket, we want to be able to live in a new culture and obviously we want to improve our cricketing ability by playing out here in different conditions, but we also want to grow as young individuals,” the player said.
Benta and Francis are scheduled to leave for England in May.
Two other Antiguan cricketers, Essan Warner and Timmo Thomas were also in England last year as part of the programme.