Coley welcomes plans by CWI to organise matches within each territoryTuesday, May 04, 2021
BY SANJAY MYERS
JAMAICA Scorpions Head Coach Andre Coley has joined the list of people welcoming plans by Cricket West Indies (CWI) to organise matches within each territory to help players prepare for proposed Test series against South Africa and Pakistan.
“There is some discussion around four-day games that will coincide with international tournaments coming up. It is important for players to get the opportunity to play at a certain level and to keep that sharpness and to stake a claim for any upcoming tour,” he told the Jamaica Observer during a telephone interview.
The regional four-day competition, which would normally run from late in the year up to approximately the first quarter of the new calendar year, is traditionally the platform upon which players can stake their claim for a place in the West Indies Test team.
However, due to logistical challenges and safety concerns brought on by the novel coronavirus the competition is unlikely to be held this season.
CWI board member Wilford “Billy” Heaven, who is also president of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), and Junior Bennett, the Jamaica cricket lead selector, have both endorsed the proposal to stage intra-territorial matches to fill any possible gap.
Coley, who has served as assistant coach of the regional senior team, noted that the intra-territorial matches would provide West Indies selectors the opportunity to assess players.
“I think it's a very important initiative… to have an idea of where players are. Players who put in consistent performances in these matches could find themselves in contention [for West Indies]. It's always good to keep your name in the ears of selectors,” the former Jamaica wicketkeeper said.
Coley, who has long urged players to commit to a lifestyle centred on fitness, said Scorpions team members are in good physical condition despite limited training caused by the virus pandemic.
“They are in relatively good shape at the moment. It is really now about taking more responsibility around fitness and physical conditioning because there is a direct relation between those things and performance. If players want to be able to replicate good performances, then physical conditioning is a big contributing factor, so we are just trying to reinforce that,” he told the Observer.
The proposed international tours are part of a busy home schedule for the regional side.
The South Africans are expected to visit the Caribbean next month, followed by Pakistan later in the summer. In between those Test series, West Indies are also set to welcome Australia, but that tour is expected to be limited to white-ball cricket.
CWI hosted the regional Super50 Cup in Antigua in February. Following sharply on the heels of that tournament, West Indies hosted Sri Lanka in Antigua.
The home side won the Twenty20 and One-Day International contests 2-1 and 3-0, respectively, but had to settle for a nil-all result in the two-Test series.
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