Coach upbeat about CWI Rising Stars Men’s Under 19 Tournament

Head Coach of Leeward Islands Under 19 Team, Wilden ‘Polo’ Cornwall
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By Samuel Peters

Head Coach of the Leeward Islands Men’s Under 19 team, Wilden “Polo” Cornwall Sr, has expressed great optimism about his team’s chances at the Cricket West Indies Rising Stars Under 19 Championships in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The competition was initially slated to bowl off on July 2, but due to the passage of Hurricane Beryl it was postponed to July 11.

Speaking to Observer, Cornwall Sr said that even though the hurricane would have affected the start of the tournament, it has not hampered their preparations.  

“Luckily, we had 10 days in Antigua, and the way we went through our paces, I think we relished those 10 days. To be honest, we got in a three-day game with the red ball and a one-day game with the white ball. So, our training was never really impacted from the passing of the storm. But, I think we can respectfully say that we got some preparation, and because of the weather around the region, I can satisfyingly say that we’re in a good place at the moment.”

The tournament will see a change in its format due to the effects of the hurricane, where the three-day fixtures will be replaced by two-day matches.

When asked about the change and how it may impact his team, Cornwall said, “I think the two-day was really right up our street because a lot of our players played a lot of two-day cricket. So, for me, it’s all about getting out there and whatever the format is, just adapt and adjust to it.”

The team is filled with experience with the likes of Jewel Andrew, Nathan Edward (both have represented the West Indies Under 19 team), Micah McKenzie, Yannique Watley and Michael Palmer.

When questioned about his team’s composition and chance of winning the tournament, Cornwall stated: “We have Jewel Andrew as the captain and he just came from a tour of Ireland. He’s in a good space at the moment, along with Nathan Edward, who is a franchise player for the Leeward Islands Senior Team.

“Some of the guys who have been there before for the past three years, I expect these guys are supposed to have an impact in the tournament, especially those that have the experience, given that opportunity for the past three years, to show that sort of knowledge to the other players and those who are just making their debut for the first time. So, I’m looking forward to a really good and a nice tournament for my boys.”

The Leewards will clash with Guyana in their first match of the two-day matches on Thursday, then play Barbados two days later and will meet Jamaica two days after as well. The one-day tournament will bowl off on July 23.

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