Barbados cricket is on course to celebrate another historic moment.
For the first time since its inception in 1996, Barbados will host the Cricket West Indies’ Regional Under-15 Tournament scheduled to bowl off tomorrow July 26 at various venues across the island with the young Tridents taking on the Windward Islands at Weymouth Cricket Ground beginning at 9:30 a.m.
Manager of the team Jason Haynes captained the very first Barbados Under-15 team 21 years ago in the then Carib Cement Competition when they finished runners-up to hosts Trinidad and Tobago who are currently the reigning champions. Haynes told Barbados TODAY this moment had been long in coming.
Having worn Barbados colours in the same tournament years ago, Haynes noted that being the manager now had positioned him to share his experience with this crop of young enthusiastic Barbadian cricketers who will play the 50-over competition in a round-robin format.
The 36-year-old who once captained Barbados’ senior team, played 34 first class matches, with a highest individual score of 111, told Barbados TODAY the team had put in the requisite training in preparation for the tournament and were expecting great results considering they have a group of talented players.
“We have a very talented side, we have some players whom we have high expectations of and we expect to do well but obviously we are playing a tournament and a team effort is required and once the boys remain focused, I believe they would do exceptionally well. We have our basics covered, the batting is pretty solid and our bowling has proved to be a force to reckon with in this tournament. We have some quality spinners and we also have some very good seamers as well,” he said.
The last time Barbados celebrated as champions was back in 2012 and last year they tied for second having tallied 20.8 points along with Guyana. This year, however, they will seek to lift the trophy on home soil under the guidance of head coach Richard Clarke.
When asked to share his views as it related to how the standard of cricket has grown from his era to now, the former Barbados and West Indies A left- handed opening batsman declined to say much in an effort to avoid being controversial, but indicated to an extent that his generation might have had the edge because this group of players needed a lot more mentoring which was a problem that plagued even the senior players of West Indies cricket.
“We had a lot of raw talent but we also had guys who would have gone on to play for Barbados and West Indies and who would have done significantly well locally and those same guys would have progressed through the age groups, under-19 cricket and went on to play for the West Indies senior team as well.
“These guys [under-15 cricketers] need a lot of mentoring, so they can fully understand what is necessary for them to reach the next level basically and the more mentorship they receive the better for them. We have a problem in the West Indies where a lot of these guys take a long time understanding their game, so whatever information we can give them [youth cricketers] will help them significantly,” Haynes said, while noting that one of the contributing factors to the development of our youth cricketers had to do with the amount of exposure they got.
“When this tournament originally started, you would have had the Under-15 World Cup, which you don’t hear much about right now. But obviously, it would have given kids the opportunity to tour other countries. In terms of regionally you would find a lot of tournaments would have originally played in Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago predominantly, so it is good that finally the kids get to come to Barbados and experience different conditions and environment,” he expressed.
The 14-member squad reads: Captain Renacko Belgrave, vice-captain Jacob Bethell, Rivaldo Clarke, Reuben Agard, Romario Roach, Romario Brathwaite, Nimar Bolden, Tremaine Dowrich, Malek Holder, Jordan Knight, Jakeem Forde, Giovante DePeiza, Thierry Walcott and Che Simmons. Physiotherapist is Kwayne Dalrymple.