By Neto Baptiste
Teams not taking part in future youth cricket tournaments put on by the Leeward Islands Cricket Board (LICB), will have their players ruled out for selection to the body’s sub-regional squads.
The warning comes from the body’s Cricket Operations Manager, Vernon Springer, as they jumpstart their under-17 camp here in Antigua ahead of next month’s regional tournament in Trinidad.
“We did not have an under-15 and an under-17 tournament last year simply for the reason that in December  when we sent out the fixtures but at the last minute a couple of countries pulled out so we didn’t have a choice but to cancel the tournaments. This year, we have done some rearrangements and we have sent out the dates for the under-15 and under-17 and those two tournaments will be in Antigua this year,” he said.
“The countries that don’t participate in those tournaments their players will not be selected, so if only three teams participate in the under-15 or three teams participate in the under-17, then those are who we are going to select from to represent the Leeward Islands,” he added.
The situation Springer said, has forced the body to resort to its usual system where countries nominate their “best players” for the camp from which a final team will be selected.
“Respective countries would have allocated at least a couple of players and we would have had at least five or six players from the team last year coming back to the championship. We are going to have 25 players here from the respective countries around the Leeward Islands,” the administrator said.
“We will have two practice games at the Police grounds on Saturday and Sunday and then on Sunday evening we will select the final squad. Those who don’t make it will go back home on Monday and then our team preparations will start on Tuesday here in Antigua as they get ready for the tournament which will be in Trinidad & Tobago from the 4th to the 15th
,” he added.
A similar problem, according to the Cricket Operations Manager, persists with the under-19 squad that will go into preparations shorty.
“Because we didn’t have also, an under-19 tournament, the same thing will take place where we will assemble 20-plus guys and along with the guys we will assemble, any strong performances from the under-17 tournament in Trinidad, those guys will form part of the Leewards under-19 team that will be heading out to that tournament which will be in St. Vincent & the Grenadines from July 25th to August 11th,” he said.
The under-17 squad will be coached by Steve Liburd of St. Kitts and managed by Antigua’s Justin Joseph while the under-19s will be coached by Anguilla’s Terry Adams and managed by Antigua’s Purnell Joseph.