Thomas, James Hailed Despite Hurricanes Loss

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Coach of the Leeward Islands Hurricanes and former West Indies fast bowler, Winston Benjamin, in-spite of the team’s fifth straight loss in the Regional Super50 on Wednesday, has hailed the courage of one young player and the grit of one senior player.
The 20-year-old former Leeward Islands youth cricketer Kofi James, in only his second match at the senior level, led the sub-regional squad as captain to become one of the youngest players to captain at that level while senior player and former West Indies wicketkeeper, Devon “Booby” Thomas, broke out of a batting rut to score a century in the losing effort to the Guyana Jaguars here at the Coolidge Cricket Ground.
According to Benjamin, young cricketers don’t come any braver than James, who stepped up and took the reins of the team when no one else wanted to.
“We had a situation where the captaincy was offered to Devon Thomas, he decided that he wanted no part of it and so we had Montcin Hodge who is basically next in line due to seniority and we had Mervin Matthew who would have been standing as deputy but both guys were out yesterday [Wednesday] due to injury,” he said.
“Knowing Kofi and I’ve seen him captain before we thought he would be the ideal person to lead the team. We are very depleted as you would have known so we just thought that, give him a chance and see what happens and I thought he did a pretty good job last night,” the coach added. 
Thomas made 103 not out in Hurricanes’ five-wicket loss to the Guyana team. His knock propelled the “home team” to 216 for 8 from their 50 overs after.
Benjamin is hoping that Thomas’s performance serves to build his confidence going forward.
“Devon ‘Booby’ Thomas is one of the best batsmen in the Caribbean. I’ve said it to him on numerous occasions. I think there are times when Booby gets bored because he thinks that the competition is not challenging enough and that innings last night [Wednesday] was one to watch. It was well-paced and the situation we found ourselves in, he could not have done it any better himself. I really and truly was happy with the way he went out there and took charge and that is what we were looking for all along,” he said. 
Hurricanes lost five of its top players to Windies A and senior team duties after just three matches into the competition. They have since not won a match.
Benjamin said the situation has highlighted a deficiency within the Leeward Islands system.
“There are a number of things that I found out being here for the first time that needs to be looked at seriously and that is the cricket education in terms of the knowledge of the game, planning strategy going forward as individuals and as a team. Some of these guys don’t understand the rudiments of the game and what are the requirements,” the coach said.
“These guys have never played cricket at this level before and most of what we had was 20/20 cricket and so you can see the 20/20 cricket coming to the fore where everything is in a rush and our awareness, our alertness and it shows mores so now that we have lost a number of our key players, that it is something we need to look at,” he added.
Chasing an unimposing 217 for victory under lights, Jaguars overhauled their target courtesy of an aggressive 89 from Christopher Barnwell and an unusually measured unbeaten 60 from Shimron Hetmyer.
The pair posted 144 for the third wicket to pull Jaguars around from 65 for three at the end of the 16th over, after they had lost quick wickets.

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