By Neto Baptiste
Four of the country’s young cricketers are set to travel to England later this month as part of an exchange programme piloted by the East Midlands Lord’s Taverners in Nottinghamshire.
Essan Warner, of CUB Bethesda Golden Eagles, and Elroy Francis, Demari Benta and Kadeem Henry of Pigotts Crushers, are slated to leave for England later this month where they will spend the next five months perfecting their craft through the joint Ministry of Sports initiative.
Former West Indies and national fast bowler Winston Benjamin is currently working with three of the four players and believe they will all do well in England.
“I have been working with Essan for a long time but we broke off and he found his way around before making his way back. Basically, what we are doing now is specific and he is hitting the ball well, so there is no two ways about it. He is probably the most confident of the lot in terms of the awareness and I think Elroy is probably the most big-hearted of all of them, but I think they are going to do well because we have been preparing for months, even before we knew they were going to England,” he said.
Both Benta and Francis Jr were slated to travel to England last March but the trip had to be postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. They were chosen by Keith Williams, Chairman of East Midlands Lord’s Taverners following an assessment and interview process.
Benjamin, who played County cricket for 10 years spanning 1986 to 1996, offered a bit of advice to the players.
“Having been there myself at a young age, it’s just to learn as much as you can and don’t ever forget the things you would have learnt but just add to it and just listen. Be specific about the things you want to accomplish and that is key because everybody does things differently but the key is to learn as much as you can and work as hard as you possibly can,” he said.
Last year, as part of the exchange initiative, two cricketers from England in Sam Foster and Tom Rock were in Antigua representing the Combined Schools cricket team in the Two Day tournament hosted by the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA).