The Barbados Pride cricket team has what it takes to dethrone two-time defending champions Guyana Jaguars.
Speaking Thursday with the media during a meet and greet with the 13-member team and other officials at the offices of sponsors Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited, manager Wendell Coppin said with a number of senior members currently on West Indies duties, the imminent regional tournament gave young players like Massy United Insurance Wildey all-rounder Aaron Jones and Sagicor Life University of the West Indies opener Anthony Alleyne an opportunity to shine.
Coppin noted that Barbados’ cricket was in a good state considering that many of their senior players were away playing at the highest level and yet still they had a talented group from which to chose to represent the country.
“The team is a good one. We have a number of players who would have normally been here with us but they are on international duty and as a result of that it has given an opportunity for the likes of Anthony Alleyne making his debut, as well as Aaron Jones who comes into the side and Nikolai Charles an opportunity in what would have been the back-end of his first class playing days. So it is really good that an opportunity has been extended certainly to those players but at the same time we believe that we have what it takes to win regional cricket with the main players from West Indies team coming back some time in the latter half of the season. We believe that this team is as good as we can put together at this present moment and we should be able to hold our own across the region.
“Ultimately what our goals are, are two-fold. One, we like to show that we are developing players to go on to the international level and then at the same time give an opportunity to those players who would not have otherwise had an opportunity because the main players are here. So the fact that six or seven players go on to represent the West Indies actually helps us in a way because we believe we have a bottleneck within our cricket currently and this gives some an opportunity. The more players that are selected for the West Indies, the more players that are available to play for us. So we believe that we are in a healthy state,” he said.
Notwithstanding the fact that many of their key players are unavailable at this point, Coppin explained there was no special strategy heading into the opening round of the West Indies Cricket Board’s Professional Cricket League four-day competition
“We don’t think that we need special strategies per say. We believe that the Barbados team is well prepared and we believe that any of the players coming into the side are capable of holding their own in regional cricket . . . . We believe that our team is as strong as its bench and as you can see from the selection, the fact that players like Nikolai Charles have got back into the side, Anthony Alleyne who has been on the local scene over the years and performing very well can break into the side, that shows the strength of Barbados cricket,” the manager said.
Barbados Pride captain Kevin Stoute, who still has hopes of playing for the West Indies senior team, said he intended to improve his craft with the bat and take more wickets.
“It is always my dream of playing for the West Indies and I haven’t given up hope yet. Also I am very confident in the side that the Barbados selectors have selected. It is a very good team that is full of experience and we are expecting six of our players to be back from the Test side,” Stoute told the media.
Barbados Pride will face Leeward Islands Hurricanes at Warner Park, St Kitts on November 11th.
Former Deighton Griffith Secondary School duo of Charles, a useful leg-spinner who now plays for Counterpoint Wanderers and Kenroy Williams, a batting all-rounder for Braithwaite’s Construction and Crane Resort St Catherine’s, shared their views about being recalled.
After a five-year break Charles said: “It is a good feeling for me because the last time I played it was five years ago and I enjoyed the journey and I look forward to representing Barbados again. I believe that I can make a positive contribution to the team, I just turned thirty years and as I am getting older I am getting better at my craft. Of course I will make a very positive contribution to the team. I put the numbers there, my stats were pretty good I believe in my ability and it presented itself.”
Williams said: “It is a great feeling for me. I have been waiting on this for two to three years now and I feel good within myself to know that I have done enough to get back into the team. I do believe that I have something left in me and I have been training hard and preparing myself for this moment, so I am ready and still think that I can make a very good contribution.”