The 50-overs leg of this year West Indies Under-19 competition gets underway today with three matches.
In one of those fixtures sees defending champions Trinidad, who finished second place in the three-day competition that concluded on Friday, tackles struggling home side Guyana at the G.C.C Ground Bourda from 10 am.
The home side will be trying desperately to make up for their disappointing performance in the three-day format, starting from today. In international cricket when a team performs as badly as Guyana did, changes are made, but Guyana’s coach Hubert Evans does not have that luxury given that according to tournament rules, players cannot be replaced from any squads unless injuries occur.
Trinidad, who defeated Guyana by 73 runs just under two weeks ago in the three-day competition at Everest, will certainly be keen in exploiting the vulnerable home side. They will as usual depend on their West Indies left-arm spinner Derone Davis who was the leading wicket-taker in the three-day format 25 wicket at a superb average of 10, to lead their charge against Guyana today and for the remainder of this competition.
With the bat he will be supported by stylish left-hander Akeal Hossein who scored 246 at 41 in the longer version and Emmauel Lett whose 187 retired out versus the Leeward Island was the highest score by a Trinidadian at youth level since Lara scored 188 in 1988.
Speaking to Stabroek sport in a short telephone interview Trinidad manager Roland Sampath echoed much of the aforementioned points. “The team is progressing steadily in the competition as I predicted. As I mentioned in previous interviews our preparation for this competition was hampered by rain back home, so the boys to reach their potential and I thought our final round performance in the three-day match was close to the perfect match.”, said a assured sounding Sampath.
“The boys are confident and very confident of defending our title. But firstly we will be looking to inflict another blow to the home side who are clearly under pressure”, Sampath explained further quite confidently.
The other two matches sees 2011 three-day champions locking horns with Barbados in what is expected to be highly competitive clash at the Providence stadium. Jamaica may hold a slight psychological advantage having bowled the Bajans out for 63 earlier in the tournament, but the Barbados looked lively in the win over Guyana. Both sides have West Indies Under-19 opening pair of Kraigg Braithwaite and John Campbell who comes into todays match with big hundreds behind their belts – 146 and 175 respectively; along with impressive new-ball pair Justin Greaves/Jerome Jones of Barbados and James McDonald/Marquino Mindley of Jamaica. So this is shaping up potential be the match of this opening round.
Tournament strugglers Leeward and Windward Island bring up the rear in their match at D.C.C. Both sides especially 2010 three-day champions who had a forgettable three-day tournament finishing sixth and fifth respectively, will be hoping for morale boasting victories and start afresh in the limited overs leg of the competition.
Leewards probably have a lot more work to do, to develop a formal to claim a victory given that only captain Rahkeen Cornwall with fifth highest batting aggregate in the three-day format of 217 runs at 43, stood head and shoulder above his team mates who have to date look out of their depth at Under-19 level.
Guyana: Ronsford Beaton (captain), Kwame Crosse, Kevon Boodie, Kandasammy Surujnarine, Dominique Rikki, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Jamal La Fleur, Linden Austin, Amir Khan, Anthony Adams, Ricardo Adams, Clinton Pestano, Loydell Lewis. Hubert Evans (Coach), Manager Raymond Barton (Manager).
Trinidad and Tobago: Steven Katwaroo (captain), Saivon Lara. Kieron Joseph, Derone Davis, Duane Cockburn, Isiah Rajah, Christian Herrera, Philton Williams, Rajiv Maraj, Jovan Ali, Idress Mohammed, Stephen Sooklal, Akeal Hosein, Emmanuel Lett. Tarandath Sammy (Coach), Roland Sampath (Manager)