West Indies Under-19 wicketkeeper Leonardo Julien is hoping the tournament-winning performances of the West Indies Emerging Players will be a wake-up call for the selectors across the region to look more closely at the talent available to them in the future.
The Emerging Players team, made up of players from across the West Indies territories who were not selected to represent the six Cricket West Indies Professional Cricket League Franchises, clinched the Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 Cup with a dominant 205-run victory against the Leeward Islands Volcanoes, at the Queen’s Park Oval, St Clair, on Sunday.
It is the second straight year that none of the professional franchise teams were able to lift the Super50 Cup.
Julien, who is also a member of the West Indies Under-19 team, played a big part in the win, scoring 83 as the Emerging Players tallied 293 for seven. The Hurricanes were dismissed for 88 in reply.
“Some of us got rejected by our countries and were still able to come out here and show our worth and show what we are capable of. Hopefully our country can take it into consideration going forward,” Julien said after the game.
The left-handed Trinidad and Tobago player was happy to have played a part in his team’s victory and wants to enter next year’s ICC Under-19 World Cup with a similar positive approach.
“Firstly, I have to thank God. When I went out there, I had to assess the wicket (pitch), and the ball was coming onto the bat nicely so it was just about getting in and then going on to get a big score,” Julien explained.
His previous three innings, where he had scores of one each occasion, were also on his mind. But he used that as a learning experience to work on his game and come back an improved player.
“I scored one, one, one, in my previous three innings, so I was really thinking about scoring 111 today. But it feels great to be able to go out there and play my game and help the team get a good score. I went back to the nets and worked on my technique and that helped me to bounce back,” Julien recalled.
Although he wasn’t needed behind the stumps with T&T’s Joshua Da Silva taking up those duties, Julien said he loves being behind the stumps no matter how challenging it is to be a top order batsmen and a wicketkeeper. “I prefer opening, but I can bat anyway down the order. I like the ball coming onto the bat. It was a bit easier not being behind the stumps but I love keeping, but that’s just how it goes,” he said.
Julien will have little time to rest with the West Indies Under-19s set to face England and Sri Lanka’s U-19 teams in nine matches to be played in Antigua at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground and then the Coolidge Cricket Ground, starting on Friday.
The top two teams face off in the final at Coolidge Cricket Ground on December 21. The West Indies U-19s then travel to South Africa after Christmas to finalise their preparations for the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup which will take place from January 17 to February 9.
“It is for me to go there with the same attitude and approach, and just back myself and my ability,” said Julien, looking ahead to the World Cup.
West Indies Under-19 players Ashmead Nedd, Jayden Seales and Kimani Melius were also part of the Emerging Players team and Julien said they would have gained a lot of experience from their winning run in the tournament.
“We are going to take a lot of confidence from this win and a lot of experience and we will share that with the Under-19 team and hopefully inspire them as well,” he said. “I think we have a great all-round team. We will go out there and put our best foot forward,” he added.