By Neto Baptiste
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA), Leon Rodney, says the country could soon jumpstart preparations for the regional under-19 tournament slated for the first quarter of 2022.
The local administrator made the revelation while speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, adding that strong focus will be placed on ensuring the twin-island state is ready and prepared for the important competition.
“Remember we were doing some under-15 stuff trying to find some under-19 girls and there is no doubt that the West Indies under-19 girls tournament will be held in Trinidad some time around Easter  so we have come up with a number of girls that we believe should go into training which should take place pretty soon,” he said.
The preparations, Rodney said, could also include some senior players but reinforced that the focus will be those players eligible for selection onto the under-19 squad and eventually into a Leeward Islands and possibly a senior West Indies set up.
“The focus obviously will be on the under-19s. We will still be encouraging the senior girls to come and play some cricket but if we are to be real, given the lost of three senior competitions and the most of the girls were obviously up in a certain kind of age you want to start looking for the new players who will go into training and hopefully will go on to represent the Leeward Islands and get into the West Indies set up,” he said.
Rodney ensured that despite interruptions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, a strong focus remains on the development of female cricket in the Antigua.
“Unfortunately, before the Covid we had a really good thing going and we have to take this opportunity to thank the stadium management, Anthony Merrick and so on, because they had allowed us to train at the grounds on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and on Saturdays we would have gone mostly on the outfield. We would not have had a middle wicket but we had some nets set up where we could have done some skills work,” he said.
“We had a lot of training going on but, unfortunately, when the pandemic hit we had to shut down and since then we really have not had back the senior girls, but the three different areas were putting in their work with the under-15 girls which ended up in Liberta and at Pigotts and at Police grounds so pretty soon training will start back with that,” the cricket boss added.
The cricket association will host its Vax 8 tournament on December 18 and 19 which will be followed by their Super 40 competition. The Super 40 will be contested following the anticipated ICC Under-19 World Cup slated to start next month.