Under-19s Start Preparation

Date Published: 
Stabroek News
Sean Devers

The national 18-man youth squad began preparation for this year’s regional under-19 cricket competition in Jamaica with two hectic practice sessions over the weekend.

The 18-man squad, announced by the selectors last Tuesday, had batting and bowling and fielding practice on the concrete surface of the National Gymnasium on Saturday and Sunday under the watchful eyes of new coach Wayne Jackson, manager Carl Moore and chairman of the junior selection panel Lennox Hunte.

The inclement weather has made turf practice impossible and according to Moore, the 18 players short-listed will have their next practice session this weekend.

The squad will then be encamped at the Guyana Cricket Board Hostel from July 6. The final 14-man squad to travel to Jamaica will be selected during the three-week encampment period.

This year’s competition which runs from July 25 to August 30 will involve defending three-day champions Leewards Islands, one-day winners, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, host Jamaica, Windward Islands and Guyana and like last year, will include both a three-day and one-day competition. The last time the competition was held in Jamaica (1996) Guyana took the title.

The four Guyanese players on the West Indies President’s X1 female under-23 cricket team also practiced with the under-19 players over the weekend.

Anabelle Lewis (Tucber Park Berbice), Indomatie Gordial (Unity East Coast Demerara), Triholder Marshall (Buxton, East Coast Demerara) and Tracy Glasgow (Malteenoes, Georgetown) are the Guyanese on the president’s X1 team for the regional under-23 female competition which is scheduled for Trinidad from July 2-6. Gordial is the captain of the team which will be coached by Guyana female coach Ava Baker of Buxton.

Meanwhile, there were no real surprises in the 18-man squad announced by the selectors even though the omission of fast bowler Quinsen Nedd who played in last year’s competition raised a few eyebrows. The selection of two leg spinners was also a bit unexpected.

However, the national youth three-man selection panel must be commended for picking a very good squad especially since only two trial matches were possible due to rain.

The practice sessions over the weekend were well organized by the manager and coach and even though most of the batsmen seemed a bit rusty due to their lack of cricket because of the heavy rainfall here over the last month, the youths all seemed eager to work on their game and fitness.

Jackson, a former national under-15 coach, said he was pleased with the weekend’s sessions and said he will be trying to identify areas of weakness in the players so that those areas can be worked on as preparations for Jamaica continue.

He is hoping for a break in the weather so that some turf work can be done before the team departs for Reggae country. Both the coach and the manager were disappointed with the level of fitness of most of the players.

"Even though the weather has been bad and there has been very little cricket recently I would have though that the players would have been working on their personal fitness on their own time," said Jackson.

"I don’t think players who are aspiring to represent their country should wait on the cricket board to organize training sessions for them.

This is something the players should be doing all year round and not only when an inter-county or regional competition is approaching," the coach opined.

He added that this is not only a problem at the youth level but at the senior level also.

Six players with previous experience at the national under-19 level have been retained in the 18-man squad which will be led by former Guyana under-15 left arm spinner 16 year-old Sauid Drepaul. Former West Indies under-15 left hander Assad Fudadin is the vice captain.