The Trinidad and Tobago Under-17 cricket team will be stepping up their preparations for the regional Under-17 competition in the coming weeks after the final 14-man squad for the June 29 to July 8 tournament was finalised last week.
Varendra Jagroop will captain the side, which includes left-arm spinner Bryan Boodram, who was in both the Under-17 and Under-19 training squads.
T&T Under-17 coach Dasrath Maharaj is happy with the composition of the team, and is hoping to have a few practice matches ahead of the tournament, which takes place in Tobago.
He revealed that they were working on having a match against the national Under-19 squad on June 19 plus two other fixtures before they leave for Tobago on June 28.
The Under-17 team had a full training session at Sir Frank Worrell Development Centre in Couva two weekends ago, and Maharaj believes they are on track with their preparations.
“We had some good sessions so far,” Maharaj said.
“We have had three good days of sunshine so we were able to capitalise on that and do some training outside. We had one day in the middle and two days in the outdoor nets so we are getting there.
“The only concern I have at this point in time is the fielding but hopefully, as we go along, they will get better. They are talented cricketers and I am sure they will be able to raise their game and peak by the time tournament comes along,” Maharaj added.
“We have three matches lined up and a schedule of 16 training sessions so I think we have sufficient time to prepare,” he added.
Speaking about the players in the squad, the coach said: “We have a talented squad with capable batsmen and wicket-taking bowlers.
“The batsmen have the ability to build an innings and occupy the crease so I am confident we will be able to get scores of 250 or close to three hundred.
“We have also strengthened up on our fast-bowling stock,” he added.
“Shane Smith, Clevon Kallawan, Anderson Phillip all have some pace. We also have a good line-up of spinners as well so it is a balanced attack and a balanced team and I think they have the ability to do well in this tournament.”
Good fast bowlers have become a necessity in regional youth competitions as teams are awarded bonus points for each wicket taken by a pacer.
The Under-17s continue their preparations with training sessions on weekends and on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Sir Frank Worrell Development Centre in Couva before flying to Tobago on June 28th.
T&T Under-17 Squad
Amir Jangoo, Carl Vialva, Jyd Goolie, Clevon Kallawan, Jeron Maniram, Shaquille McDavid, Brandon Jaggernath, Varendra Jagroop (captain), DeJourn Charles, Bryan Boodram, Afdal Khan, Shane Smith, Jerlanie Seales, Anderson Phillip. Reserves: Kerron Simmons, Amrish Rampersad
Dasrath Maharaj (coach), Stephen Martel (manager)