By Neto Baptiste
Leeward Islands Under-19 captain Zawandi White and vice-captain Elroy Francis Jr have expressed confidence ahead of this year’s Regional Under-19 Championship, set to bowl off in St. Vincent & the Grenadines later this month.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, White, who hails from Montserrat, said expectations are high for the team and himself personally.
“Everyone has a high expectations of you because you always go out and perform within yourself, and I feel good because I’ve been there before so I know what the tournament is about and I know what I and the team need to do to win the tournament,” he said.
White will lead the 14-man squad during the July 25th to August 11th competition.
Francis, his Antiguan deputy, echoed similar sentiments, adding that playing a leadership role in the squad has served as motivation ahead of the important tournament.
“I am accustomed to leading. I am not leading in this instance but I am his [Zawandi White’s] assistant this time around and I am the captain for the Pigotts Crushers so I am used to this, and I am starting to get accustomed to it now. But when I started it was a lot of pressure on me,” the national player said.
Cricket Operations Manager for the Leeward Islands Cricket Board, Vernon Springer, though optimistic of the team’s chances, is hoping that a number of players can excel.
“I don’t want to tell you that we’re going to win the tournament, but what I am going to say to you is look out because these two guys, Zawandi White and Elroy Francis, are part of the West Indies Under-19 20/20 World Cup preparations squad. We’re looking to make sure we get some more numbers in there so when you look at the squad you’ll see a young Taiem Tonge who represented the West Indies under15; you have Uri Smith who had a dominant tournament in Antigua and Barbuda, and he needs to put his name up. There is also someone like Paul Miller from Antigua and Barbuda who is also dominant in local cricket, and we have a youngster from Nevis in Jaden Carmichael who is a left arm spinner and he’s coming through,” he said.
Leeward Islands will open their campaign against Jamaica on July 28th at Cumberland before facing Windward Islands at the same venue two days later. The competition continues on August 1st when the Leewards face Guyana at Cumberland and play T&T on August 4th at the same venue.
A team to contest next year’s Under-19 T20 World Cup will be selected following the regional Under-19 championships.