By Neto Baptiste
Cricket West Indies’ Chief Executive Officer, Johnny Grave, has described efforts to secure preparatory tours for the regional U19s as difficult given the ongoing Covid-19 situation both in the region and overseas.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Grave admitted he was not always confident the upcoming tour of England would have materialized, while hinting of a possible tri-national series later this year as part of continued preparation efforts.
“You can imagine flying into the UK from the Caribbean was very uncertain and we weren’t ever confident really that it would take place. It was always our ultimate aim and desire to give our under-19 team as much international preparation as we could possibly get in advance of what will be a home World Cup. We are in talks with two other international boards about coming to the Caribbean in December to play a tri series before the under-19s,” he said.
The CEO also sought to address concerns over the unavailability of head coach Floyd Reifer, who will not accompany the 18-man squad on their preparatory tour to England from September 4-17.
Grave said efforts to have Reifer on the tour were thwarted by the fact that he already had contractual duties with the Jamaica Tallawahs for the ongoing Caribbean Premier League (CPL) in St Kitts when he was brought on as head coach in January.
“Floyd was asked whether he would lead the team into what would be a home World Cup in January and February of next year and at that point he already had a contractual commitment with the Jamaica Tallawahs. At that stage, we didn’t even know whether we would be able to go on an under-19 tour either away from home or have an under-19 team come into the region so his assistance coach [Rohan Nurse] is taking the head coach mantle for the England tour. I am sure they would be in regular contact with Floyd and Floyd would resume those head coach duties once the CPL is finished,” he said.
The CWI official also revealed that venue inspections are currently being carried out in relation to the bidding process by regional boards to host matches during the ICC event.
“They are about to embark on a venue inspection of the shortlisted host countries and I expect we would make an announcement in the next two weeks. We have identified form the bod process that all the countries in the region had the opportunity to bid and we shortlisted Trinidad & Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis and Guyana,” Grave said.
The U19s tour to England will feature six Youth One-Day Internationals at The County Ground, Beckenham and The Polo Farm, Canterbury from Saturday, September 4 to Friday, September 17.
The West Indies Rising Stars U19s squad was selected following an eight-match trials series with 60 players. From there the squad was reduced to 26 players who were then involved in more intensive targeted high performance coaching and simulation sessions.