JAMAICA’S Under-19 cricketers are ready and “motivated” to retain their three-day regional crown, according to team manager Gibbs Williams.
The squad is scheduled to leave the island this afternoon for Barbados on a month-long trip and Williams told the Jamaica Observer that though the preparation time was limited, the chemistry and talent within the experienced squad will play a key role in their title defence.
“They are motivated to hold onto the championship,” he said yesterday.
“We had a limited time so the preparation was not ideal, but it is a fact that these boys have been champions over the years and have been accustomed to winning tournaments.
“They have been a unit since their Under-15 days, except for one or two new faces.”
Last season Jamaica took the threeday title, but missed out on a rare double after losing out in the 50-overs competition.
Coached by former West Indies opener Robert Samuels and captained by Manchester CA batsman Oshane Walters, they are primed to go one better this time around.
Said Williams: “Where as the preparation is not as ideal as it ought to be, we are pretty satisfied that they can get the job done. We are going there, no doubt with the requisite attributes’ to play disciplined cricket in all three formats of the game and come out victorious at the end of the tournament.”
There was uproar in cricketing circles recently when the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) belatedly sighted a change in the Regional Under-15 Playing Conditions that saw 12 players having to be replaced at the last hour due to age ineligibility.
Though the JCA is still reeling from that embarrassing episode, Williams assured that the Under-19s have no such concerns.
“I can’t really comment on that (the Under-15 situation) because to date I have not been fully briefed on exactly what happened. But no doubt, where this unit is concerned they are all eligible and good to go,” said the certified physical trainer.
Squad — Oshane Walters (capt), Tezwayne Creary, Bryan Gayle, Aldaine Thomas, Odain McCatty, Kerry Holness, Kijana Johnson, Jermaine Levy, James McDonald, Delbert Gayle, Christopher Powell, Brandon King, Raghni Francis, Tristann Coleman.