Head coach of the West Indies Under-19 team, Graeme West, will conclude a one-week stint in Guyana where he worked along with four players who have been named in the West Indies 20-man squad.
The four players are in with a chance of making the International Cricket Council Youth World Cup team along with an under-17 player with expectations for tournaments down the line.
At Everest Cricket Club, Camp Road and Carifesta Avenue, West has been working with Sachin Singh, Kevlon Anderson, Ashmead Nedd and Kelvin Umroa all of whom were named in the first training camp last month in Antigua and Sheldon Charles, the young seamer from Essequibo.
West explained his role while wearing the cap of head coach and Programme Manager of the High Performance Centre where he has analysed the youngsters and created a programme where they know how to develop players individually.
It is this information that West explained he is travelling to the individual territories to implement what has been gathered.
“The guys played in the Regional Under-19 tournament last August and from that the selectors identified 20 players to begin preparations for the Under-19 World Cup next year in South Africa.
“The 20 boys came to Antigua, the High Performance Centre before Christmas and basically we looked at the physical skills, there were physical tests, skills tests, game skill testing as well. A lot of observations, a lot of information and from that we are able to produce programmes for every player individually to develop their skill and fitness levels,” West stated.
The Englishman acknowledged that he was also equally interested in working with the local coaches in order to make sure there was consistency in what the programmes were since there will be a four-month period before the players meet again during the Easter season.
Looking at the dynamics of the Guyanese, West explained that the two left-arm spinners, Umroa and Nedd are accustomed to playing in Guyana where “obviously there is something in the wicket to assist.”
However, West said that with an eye on South they will have to try and develop as it is unlikely they will get assistance out of the pitch so their control of line and length will be crucial if they are going to play a part in South Africa.
“That’s what we are developing plus all round skills, they got to be able to contribute with the bat,” he declared.
Of the batsmen, West said that he has been impressed with West Indies Under-16 captain, Singh whom he noted has been very successful in Regional Youth Cricket and is a solid top order batsman while Anderson is sound at the top and middle order, both players he said strike the ball very well.
“I guess a lot of the players are comfortable on the front foot and familiar with getting forward but again the conditions in South Africa, we expect the ball to bounce so we are already starting to develop the technique of playing off the back foot as well as they play on the front foot,” he said.
West said that he was particularly impressed with the ability of the players to read the game, something he has noticed in many Guyanese coming through the system.
“They read the game very well which I see with most of the Guyanese players coming through the system and the key strength is that they do have good game understanding,” West stated.
In relation to Charles, West elaborated on the plan of Cricket West Indies which he said is to create for the future. As such, the territories were asked to produce their best Under-17 player to work along with them.
West stressed that the chances of the Under-17s making the World Cup this year were there but said that he was adamant of the fact that he will be able to see them a long time prior to the other World Cup competition and to give them a sense of what is expected from them at this level in regards to fitness and skill level.
He also touched on the good facility at the venue which allowed him to complete all his training that was required, commending the Guyana Cricket Board and the club for their input to the development of players.
“We have very good facility here, I have been able to do everything I wanted to do and I am grateful for the support and the players need good facility for them to practice well and I hope they can continue to support them,” West said.