Spots in the West Indies Under-19 squad for next year’s ICC Youth World Cup, to be staged in the Caribbean, will be up for grabs as the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) hosts a series Under-19 trial matches at the National Cricket Centre in Balmain, Couva, starting today.
With no domestic or regional youth cricket played since March last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been no avenue for the top youth cricketers to vie for a West Indies Under-19 pick until now.
The TTCB Under-19 Trials will feature four teams that will play three games each, after which players will be selected for a “Best vs Best” match.
TTCB general secretary Surujdath Mahabir underscored the importance of the games and expects the matches to be very competitive.
“Sporting activities have been debarred but not preparations for international competition and these trials are to select boys who may go on to represent West Indies in the World Cup in 2022, so it is not ordinary games,” Mahabir said.
He said with no regional youth cricket and no domestic cricket being played, the trial matches represent the best opportunity for the top youth cricketers to vie for selection.
“It is a World Cup they are preparing for and that will be motivation enough and we will look to come up with the best group of boys who will have a chance at selection to the West Indies team. So, the information will be passed on to the West Indies for their consideration,” Mahabir explained.
He said the plan is to look at the performances of the players and if necessary, do video analysis and statistics and send those to CWI.
He noted that they will be using one venue—the NCC—with all Covid-19 protocols in place and that no spectators will be allowed.
“The games will be streamed via Cricket360 which is one way of getting it across to the West Indies selectors,” he added.
In terms of how the four teams for the trials were selected, Mahabir explained that the national youth team selectors were asked to look at past performances and to use what knowledge they have of the players to come up with the squads.
“We also invited representatives of all zones to be part of the selection. They will be familiar with the guys coming up from the zones,” he added.
Asked about the lack of practice ahead of the trials, Mahabir said they are expecting that the players may not be in the best of fitness or form but insisted that “we did not really have a choice.”
“The squads are 14 and all the boys are allowed to play. They can interchange players during the games. They can use substitutes so the players will not be pressured to be on the field for the full 50 overs which will help cater for the fact that they may not have been in training for a while,” Mahabir noted.
In terms of who will select the names to be submitted to CWI for consideration, Mahabir said a number of coaches and selectors will be involved in the process, including Red Force coach David Furlonge, TTCB coach David William, Deonarine Deyal, Aneil Rajah, Altaf Baksh, Rayad Emrit and Gibran Mohammed.
Weather permitting, the opening match of the series will bowl off today with North/Tobago captained by Chadeon Raymond taking on South East/South led by Kyle Roopchand.
Central/South West will be led by Aaron Bankay while East/North East will be skippered by former West Indies Under-15 captain Andrew Rambaran.
CENTRAL/SOUTH WEST: Aaron Bankay (captain), Justin Jagessar, Nick Ramlal, Shiva Sankar, Ronillster Perreira, Justin Manick, Keiron Rampersad, Kyle Krissondath, Raul Pitiram, Amit dass, Lemuel Matthews, Rajeev Ramnath, Ravi Sankar, Aiden Samaroo.
SOUTH/SOUTH EAST: Kyle Roopchand (captain), Isiah Gomez (vice-captain), Amit Gopiechandsingh, Aroon Gopiechandsingh, Nickyle Jalim, Ricardo Chase, Romario King, Khaleem Mohammed, Issiah Hyman, Rodney Beharry, Darren Sadal, Chris Sadanan, Rajiv Droogansingh, Liam Mamchan.
NORTH/TOBAGO: Chadeon Raymond (captain), Matthew Gittens (vice-captain), Jeremiah Cruickshank, Matthew Elliot, Kyle Ramdoo, Gerard Chin, Zachary Siewah, Sachin Emrit, Abdullah Cambridge, Orlando James, Joshua Davis, Joshua Yorke, Josh Telemaque, Joshua James.
EAST/NORTH EAST: Andrew Rambaran (captain), Anderson Mahase (vice-captain), Sion Hackett, Shazad Mohammed, Jabari Phillip, Kavir Boodoosingh, Rondell Ramlogan, Giovanni Gajadhar, Abdur Rahman Juman, Ravinda Ramlal, Saajid Chan Ragoonanan, Vasant Singh, Amraav Kistow, Giovanni Ramdenny.
Today — North/Tobago vs South East/South
April 13 — Central/South West vs East/North East
April 15 — North/Tobago vs Central/South West
April 17 — South East/South/East/North East
April 20 — North/Tobago vs East/North East
April 22 — South East/South vs Central/ South West
April 24 — Best vs Best (North vs South)