Fri | Jan 21, 2022

‘Right combination’ for World Cup

Says selector Haynes of WI Rising Stars

Published:Sunday | December 5, 2021 | 12:14 AM

Lead selector Robert Haynes
Lead selector Robert Haynes

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC):

LEFT-HANDED middle-order batsman, Ackeem Auguste, will lead the West Indies Rising Stars U19s 15-member squad for the upcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup to be played in the West Indies next year.

The Cricket West Indies (CWI) Selection Panel announced the team and the five reserves on Friday. The players were selected following the recent high-performance camp and preparation matches that featured 28 players at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua.

Allrounder Giovonte Depeiza was named vice-captain of the squad. The Barbadian, as well as Auguste, a St Lucian, were at the helm during the six-match Youth One-Day International Series in England in September.

“Overall, the selectors are very pleased with what we have been seeing from these players and we expect some very exciting cricket in the World Cup,” said lead selector Robert Haynes. “The batting is solid, our concern coming out of the tour of England was the middle order, but we saw some really good performances in the camp and some very good partnerships. The bowling is very good and we think we have the right combination of spinners and fast bowlers.

“This is a balanced squad and the players are very excited. It is now for these youngsters to go out and put on display what they learned in the camps which were organised for their benefit.”

Head coach Floyd Reifer also expressed confidence in the squad, saying that coming out of the last camp in Antigua, he had seen a lot of improvement and development in the players.

“We came up with a very good squad. I’m confident that we have a well-balanced team going into the World Cup, and we have the team to do very well in the tournament. We have a lot of talented players and what we are working on is the tactical side of our preparations. We have batsmen who can bowl well and bowlers who can bat as well, so we have a good balance,” he said.

Young cricketers

Auguste said he and the rest of the young cricketers were up for the challenge.

“To represent the people of our region is a special privilege and it’s a really exciting time for me and my teammates, and we know this is a great opportunity on the international stage,” the tall left-hander said, adding that it was a “special honour” to captain the team.

“We had the tour of England earlier this year and that was a good experience for all of us. I learned a lot about leadership on that tour and I would say I have grown since then. We have worked hard to reach this stage and we are ready ahead of the World Cup.”

The West Indies Rising Stars U19s have been drawn in Group D alongside Australia, Scotland and Sri Lanka for the 16-team tournament, which will be played from January 14 to February 5. Matches will be played in Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago, St Kitts and Nevis, and Guyana.

Before the ICC U19 men’s Cricket World Cup, a five-match warm-up series is being planned, with details to be announced in the coming days.

FULL SQUAD: Ackeem Auguste (captain), Giovonte Depeiza (vice-captain), Onaje Amory, Teddy Bishop, Carlon Bowen-Tuckett, Jaden Carmichael, McKenny Clarke, Rivaldo Clarke, Jordan Johnson, Johann Layne, Anderson Mahase, Matthew Nandu, Shaqkere Parris, Shiva Sankar, Isai Thorne.

Reserves: Anderson Amurdan, Nathan Edward, Andel Gordon, Vasant Singh, Kevin Wickham.