Thomas - All credit to WICB development
CROWN POINT, TOBAGO - Windward Islands Head Coach, Clifford Thomas, has praised the West Indies Cricket Board’s, Digicel’s Grassroots Programme and Scotiabank’s Kiddy Cricket for the development of cricket on the islands over the last year.
The Windward Islands Under 17 team is currently in Tobago competing in the inaugural West Indies Cricket Board’s Under 17 Tournament.
Speaking ahead of their second round match versus hosts, Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday at Shaw Park, Thomas credited youth cricket programmes across the Windward Islands for the development of young players.
He pointed out the effectiveness of both programmes which aims to develop the skills of young cricketers in elementary schools throughout the Caribbean.
He believes regional cricket is now on the right track with so much emphasis being placed on development.
He stated, “You have the under nineteen tournaments and you have the under fifteen tournaments, and all of these tournaments I think is development for the players and we look forward to that. I think the key thing is that we’re looking at all age groups and that augers well for the West Indies cricket.”
The Windward Islands squad is packed with some of the Caribbean’s finest young cricketers, including Preston McSween, who toured Australia with a representative, West Indies team last year, Gidron Pope, who finished with the second highest run aggregate at the West Indies Cricket Board’s Under 15 Tournament in 2011, and the highly regarded Roland Cato and Craig Phillip.
Team Manager of the Under 17 Windward Islands team, Samuel Holder, believes his team is good enough to compete against the five other participating countries and has winning the tournament on his list of goals for Tobago. Prior to the trip, Holder told his team ‘to make a mark for themselves and to win the tournament.’
The players though might start getting a little nervous seeing Chief Selector of the West Indies team, Clyde Butts, walking around the hotel and watching the matches around Tobago.
The Chief Selector is in Tobago for the first four rounds of the tournament but the Windwards coach doesn’t think it will play too much on the minds of his players. Thomas said, “I don’t think nerves.
I think it brings a different perspective to the tournament where a West Indies senior selector can be here looking at them. I think it can be an inspiration for them to perform well.”
With the Windward Islands taking on Trinidad and Tobago in their second round fixture, Thomas has every reason to be optimistic with his team doing well against the hosts at all age levels over the last year.
He stated, “I think it’s about approaching the game in the conditions you play under. If we stick to the game plan, and play the cricket that we can play, and the bowlers do well, the batters play well, and the fielders back us up, we’ll do well.”