Face GT today at DCC in practice match
The Windwards Islands have won just two Regional-50 overs titles and none since 2000
despite being regular participants in semi-finals.
But this year the Islanders, who face Guyana at the Stadium on Wednesday in their opening zone ‘A’ match, are confident of going all the way in the Regional Super50 competition in Guyana from October 19-29.
The Windwards arrived in Guyana on Thursday and will face a Georgetown side in a practice match at DCC from 09:00hrs today before facing the Leewards in another warm-up game on Monday.
The Windwards, whose first title was in 1989 when they beat Guyana in the final in Grenada, had a net session at DCC yesterday after their planned game against the Leewards was canceled.
Lockhart Sebastien, the former Windwards right-handed First-Class batsman and Windwards’ Manager since 2005, told Kaieteur Sport yesterday that despite the absence of West Indies Captain Darren Sammy and off-spinner Shane Shillingford, he was confident his team will do well in Guyana.
“We came here early for some practice matches since we are not as fortunate as most of the other teams which come from one country. We only assembled as a team last Wednesday in Barbados and our practice match there was washed out. Getting some cricket before Wednesday is very important to our preparation,” Sebastian, who scored five tons and 33 fifties in 92 First-Class matches, said.
All of the Windwards players have previous experience of Guyana conditions and despite the presence of ICC Pitch Consultant Andy Atkinson to supervise the preparation of the pitches being used Sebastian expects the usual low and slow tracks.
“We expect low slow tracks which help the slower bowlers and we have four spinners in our squad. Although Sammy and Shillingford are not here I would still say our bowling is our strength even though we have a good all-round side with most of the batsmen being capable bowlers,” the 55-year-old Manager added.
Nelon Pascal and Kenroy Peters gives the Windwards a competent new ball attack but spinner Garey Mathurin, Liam Sebastian, Denis George and Dalton Polius could pose the most problems for the batsmen.
In the absence of regular Keeper Lyndon James who was not selected, Andre Fletcher will do the Keeping duties and while Pacer Mervin Matthews, who is in the USA is also unavailable, Sebastien expects a lot from 25-year-old pacer Xavier Gabriel while Hyron Shallow is back after an absence of a couple of seasons.
The Windwards team includes four players with West Indies senior team experience. In addition to Skipper Devon Smith and Fletcher, left-arm spinner Mathurin and batsman Johnson Charles recently joined Sammy as the only St Lucians to play for the West Indies senior side.
Gabriel, who has played a single First-Class match, is the only player in the side never to play a Regional 50 over game while Polius, who turned 21 last month, is the other player in the side expected to make his regional one-day debut for the Windwards after playing his only game at this level in Guyana for the West Indies under-19 side in 2008.
Windward Islands Squad: Devon Smith (Captain), Liam Sebastien (V/Capt.), Xavier Gabriel, Denis George, Johnson Charles, Garey Mathurin, Keddy Lesporis, Craig Emmanuel, Kenroy Peters, Andre Fletcher, Nelon Pascal, Hyron Shallow, Kevin James, Dalton Polius, Ian Allen (Coach), Lockhart Sebastian (Manager). By Sean Devers
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