By Neto Baptiste
Iconic former fast bowler and consultant for the West Indies Under-19 team during the 2022 ICC Under-19 Men’s World Cup, Sir Curtly Ambrose, believes more players from the regional youth squad should have been included in their respective national squads for the CWI Regional Four Day Championships which bowled off this week.
Only two players from the under-19 squad in Captain Ackeem Auguste and Teddy Bishop found their way onto the Windward Islands Volcanoes set-up for the first round of matches and, according to Sir Curtly, this is simply not good enough.
“We have a tendency in the Caribbean to say that players are still young, their turn will come and all of that, but that I don’t totally agree with. I believe that if you are 18, 19 years old and you are looking good, showing maturity, showing good quality, then get them in the set up and even if they don’t play in the final 11, you have them around training with the senior guys, gaining experience and so when the time comes they will be ready,” he said.
Bishop, who hit an unbeaten 100 against Zimbabwe, averaged 51 while opener Matthew Nandu also struck a century against Papua New Guinea.
Also, Barbados’ Kevin Wickham who was a reserve player at the start of the competition but was subsequently drafted in as a Covid-19 replacement, topped the scoring charts with 243 runs from four innings to finish with an average of 81.
Wickham hit an impressive 104 against Zimbabwe in the side’s final game to follow up two half-centuries in his three previous innings.
Meanwhile, Shiva Sankar, a right-arm fast bowler, was the leading bowler with nine wickets including an outstanding spell against Scotland in the group stage.
Sir Curtly said the coaching staff including head coach Floyd Reifer will be making recommendations to CWI regarding the best way forward with the players.
“We, as coaches in head coach Floyd Reifer, myself, Steve Liburd and [others], sat down and we are going to Cricket West Indies of what we think can work to make sure we don’t lose these players and you would have heard the president Ricky Skerritt talk about developing the youths. He is big on youths and he has always mentioned that so I believe that something will be put in place so that we don’t lose these under-19 talents that we have,” he said.
Defending champions, Barbados Pride are currently taking on Leeward Islands Hurricanes at Kensington Oval. Home team Trinidad and Tobago Red Force are hosting Jamaica Scorpions at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Trinidad, while the newly named Guyana Harpy Eagles are facing Windward Islands Volcanoes at Queens Park Oval in Trinidad.