President’s XI ready to take on England
They are upbeat and very enthusiastic. They are the members of the Cricket West Indies President’s XI squad. They held training sessions on Sunday and Monday, well into the evening, and everyone looked ready to face England in the two two-day matches. There was non-stop training on the field at the 3Ws Oval and in the Malcolm Marshall Nets as the young Windies players set their sights on their heralded opposition.
The first match will be played on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by the second contest on Thursday and Friday. Coach Floyd Reifer, and assistant Corey Collymore put their charges through their paces in hot, sticky conditions. There was focus on the four-man pace attack – Alzarri Joseph, Miguel Cummins, Chemar Holder and Raymon Reifer – who could all be knocking on the door for call-up in the upcoming Wisden Trophy Test Series.
“We have a fine crop of young fast bowlers, and ideally, we would like seven or eight to choose from at the highest level, a bit like how India have been able to do it,” coach Reifer said. “We have four in the upcoming matches here against England and we believe they will do a very good job.”
The coach noted that he expects a good batting surface at the UWI facility.
“I know the pitch here very well. We can expect that it will take some turn, but it will be good for the batsman as well. The advantage with having two two-day games is that after the first game the groundmen can have a chance to freshen up another pitch so we can have something a bit different for the second match in Thursday and Friday.”
Reifer identified there is an obviously gap between first-class cricket and the game at the international level, but stressed that our players have the talent to make it and urged them to work hard towards meeting the standards.
“The difference between our first-class cricket and the international game is a big gap. We have to understand that, and what we need to do improve and do so quickly. We have the talent, there is no doubt about that, we have some fantastic players here,” Reifer said. “When guys come from first-class cricket and go straight into international cricket, they are basically learning the game as they play, which is difficult. We need to encourage them and help them, but there is no doubt in my mind that we have the talent here.”
West Indies will meet England in the three-match Wisden Trophy Test Series from January 23 to February 13. The matches will be played at Kensington Oval, Barbados (Jan 23-27); Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground, Antigua (Jan 31- Feb 4) and Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, Saint Lucia (Feb 9-13)