Thursday, February 22, 2018

Under-19 coach: Makings of a championship team

The Trinidad and Tobago Under-19 cricketers failed to deliver in this year’s West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Regional Under-19 Championships, but their coach Kelvin Williams believes he has the building blocks for what could be a successful team for next year.

T&T were runners-up to Jamaica in the three-day tournament and placed third in the one-day version.

Of their performance, coach Williams said: “I thought we did not perform to expectations but still we had some positives to work with.”

He praised his bowlers, especially the spin department, on a job well done and insisted that something had to be done to improve the fast bowling stock.

“In the three-day we bowled extremely well, but batting came in two different types of spells where we did not score quickly and we could not pick up singes so our rotation of the strike was not good enough,” he explained.

“In the 50-over we lost to Jamaica in a shortened game that had some chaos...we rebounded with three wins before we lost to the Windward Islands.

“There was one bowler from the Windwards team...Ray Jordan, he bowled extremely quick. There was a problem with our batsmen against this bowler,” the coach added.

Williams also noted that while the batting let them down, there were some bright spots.

“The batsmen who we expect to score heavily let us down badly, but still there was Jeremy Solozano who scored 300-plus runs and Camillo Carimbocas who had 240.

“We had two centuries in the three-day--one by Jeremy and one by (Andy) Gobin--but it was just about average as far as batting is concerned,” the coach added.

He said his main concern with the team was the lack of penetrative fast bowlers.

The regional youth tournaments encourage the use of pacers by awarding teams 0.1 of a bonus point for every wicket taken by one of their fast bowlers.

“We were lacking fast, penetrative bowlers but the spinners did very well. Bryan Charles came to the front as far as off-spin is concerned. He picked up 29 wickets. Jovan Ali took 20, Jesse Bootan took 19, and the skipper (Vikash Mohan) picked up 16, so all in all the spin was good but I thought the fast bowling lacked penetration.”

Looking ahead, Williams said T&T have the makings of a championship team, and that they need to put things in place early if they are to get the results they want.

“For next year we have some guys from this team that will be available, and it is nice to have them here to get that experience to take forward.

“Solozano will still be there and that is a big plus to have him back, and Brian Christmas also, who did well but not as well as he expected.

 “We may have Nicholas Pooran for next year, and in the spin bowling we have Justin Joseph and Bootan coming back so it is a plus to have these guys.

“We have an idea of what the tournament is going to be like and what is expected of the players so we need to put things in place to get the results we want. 

“We need our batsmen to come up against fast bouncing balls so they would not be afraid of it, and we need to get genuine fast bowlers to win the tournament. 

“So we need to get things in place to get genuine fast bowlers to get our batsmen to face more fast bowling so they will be better prepared for fast, short-pitched bowling,” Williams ended.