National U17 cricket captain Travis Persaud yesterday said that the team was in high spirits and was confident of winning this year’s West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Regional U17 title when the tournament commences June 29 in Trinidad and Tobago.
The players are currently involved in a five-day training camp under the supervision of seasoned youth coach and former national cricketer Garvin Nedd.
Stabroek Sport visited the team yesterday at the Chetram Singh Centre of Excellence, La Bonne Intention (LBI), East Coast Demerara where Nedd conducted cricket sessions for the young players with the batsmen working on their shot selection and the bowlers their delivery stride and length.
Nedd also took the players through some improvised fielding drills.
During an interview with Persaud, the young all-rounder stated that the team was filled with confidence and was aiming to win the tournament.
“Our training is coming along very well,” he said. “Our coach is working hard with us every day and our confidence as a team is building,” he added.
Persaud noted that Nedd did a lot of field work with them over the past two days.
“Coach stressed on us to keep our heads still while batting and to be more selective in the shots we play. I’m very happy to be on this team and I’m currently in good form but my bowling is a bit of a concern at the moment so I’m working extra hard on that part of my game,” he added.
Guyana’s batting will be led by the in-form Shimron Hetemyer. The young Berbician, who has been appointed Persaud’s deputy, has been in good form for the past couple of months and has gone from strength to strength in various tournaments held countrywide.
“I’m in good form over the past four games and my average is currently over 30 so I’m in good form,” Hetemyer told Stabroek Sport yesterday.
When asked about his fitness, he pointed out that he has been training and is not carrying any injury into the competition.
The team was selected based on performances at the just-concluded U17 Inter-County tournament which was won by Essequibo last Sunday.
Nedd, who spoke to this newspaper about his team’s progress said: “The guys are responding well to the various aspects of the training session. The main goal is to ensure these youngsters gel and come together as a unit before the tournament begins,” he added.
Speaking on the topic of team unity, the coach said that the members of the young squad were currently showing signs of camaraderie and the ability to work as a team. He, however, noted that the downside of this was the weather which has not given any leeway to most outdoor and outfield sports in the past two months.
This, he said, has prohibited the team from playing practice games together, something he aims to get done before the team departs for the twin-island republic.
Nedd spoke briefly about the players he expects to make an impact in the competition.
“Hetemyer (Shimron) will be the key leading from the front with the bat, Ronaldo Renee and the skipper Persaud will also be key players for us with the bat,” he disclosed.
“Kemo Paul has made amazing strides as a bowler since I watched him last year, I also commend him on winning the MVP award in the recent Inter-County tournament which Essequibo won under his captaincy,” declared Nedd, who elaborated by saying…“Paul is going to be a key figure with bat and ball for Guyana.”
Nedd, who has played 14 first class matches for Guyana, expressed his joy to see most of the youngsters he grew up with from the U15 levels in the current team and taking their lessons and discipline forward as they embark on a more senior outlook of representing Guyana when the tournament starts.
The team is scheduled for departure for Trinidad and Tobago on June 26.
Guyana: Travis Persaud (Capt.), Shimron Hetemyer (Vice-Capt.), Grisean Grant, Travis Drakes, Ronaldo Renee, Brandon Persaud, Parmesh Parsotam, Kemo Paul, Sherfane Rutherford, Daniel Lewis, Keanu Harry, Navendra Persaud, Permanand Ramdhan and Ryan Adams( wicket keeper).
Team manager: Nazeer Mohamed