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U19 cricketers ready for regional test U-19 cricketers ready for regional test

Published:Thursday | July 25, 2019 | 12:34 AM
(From left) Danielle Beckford, Tian Jarrett, skipper Kirk McKenzie, manager Gibbs Williams, CEO Courtney Francis, Matthew Comerie, reserve player Andrew Hunter, and Andre Morgan pose with the warm-up and playing kits received at Tuesday’s press conference and motivational session used to announce Jamaica’s Under-19 team to the CWI Regional Championships team at Sabina Park.
(From left) Danielle Beckford, Tian Jarrett, skipper Kirk McKenzie, manager Gibbs Williams, CEO Courtney Francis, Matthew Comerie, reserve player Andrew Hunter, and Andre Morgan pose with the warm-up and playing kits received at Tuesday’s press conference and motivational session used to announce Jamaica’s Under-19 team to the CWI Regional Championships team at Sabina Park.

Team manager Gibbs Williams is expecting good things from Jamaica’s bowlers when the Cricket West Indies Under-19 Championships gets under way in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The competition, which gets under way today, will run until August 10, and while highlighting the expected contributions of batsmen such as skipper Kirk McKenzie and Ricardo McIntosh, who both impressed during the recently concluded Sandals U-19 Championship & Academy, which was used to help select the team, Williams is well aware of the strength of the team’s bowling department.

“We’ve got some solid batsmen in this team and players who, overall, are quite diverse. Our batting goes all the way through the tail, but the real strength in this outfit is our bowling. The lads should do well. We open our account against the Leeward Islands, who we’ve dominated over the years. Once the young men focus properly and apply their technical skills, then we should get a positive start to the tournament,” said Williams.

Over the past decade, Jamaica has been to the finals on four occasions, winning twice (2009 and 2013) and finishing as runners-up in 2010 and 2015.

young but experienced

Coach Terrence Corke is confident about the level of experience in the team.

“There are young men here who have been representing Jamaica at various youth levels, so this is not their first time facing regional competition. The captain is one such example. He has been on our under-15 and under-17 teams. This is his second year in the under-19 set-up.“Having played in these competitions over the years and now having the benefit of maturity, the young men know what is necessary to finish at the top. We’ve spent a lot of time working on the focus and concentration because that is what will get us the championship trophy.”

The team has benefitted from, among other things, a series of mental training sessions with sports psychologist Olivia Rose as part of the personal development component of their preparation in the Sandals Academy.“We have spared no effort in preparing this team for success,” added the JCA CEO Courtney Francis. “Our talent and potential are unquestionable. It is the finer things that have been addressed in their preparation,” he said.

Meanwhile, captain Kirk McKenzie has asked the country to pay attention to the exploits of this team.

“We are the next generation of Jamaica and the Caribbean’s cricket. The team knows that Jamaica is with us, and they want us to do our best and bring home the championship. That’s our sole focus – delivering at the highest level for the team and bringing home the glory,” McKenzie said.

In addition to Jamaica, the six-team competition comprises Barbados, Guyana, the Windward Islands, the Leeward Islands, and Trinidad and Tobago.