Inaugural Rising Stars Championship set to bowl off

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Six regional franchises will be joined by USA Cricket Women for the inaugural Cricket West Indies Women Under-19s Rising Stars T20 Championship which bowls off here today.

Hosts Trinidad and Tobago along with Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana, Leeward Islands, Windward Islands and the USA will do battle from July 5-13, with the tournament scheduled for Brian Lara Cricket Academy and the Diego Martin Sporting Complex.

The tournament is being staged in anticipation of the inaugural ICC Women’s Under-19 World Cup in South Africa next January, and CWI’s chief women’s selector, Ann Browne-John, said it provides the ideal opportunity for players to impress.

“The inaugural ICC Under-19 Women’s World Cup in South Africa 2023 is a significant global event in the continued pathway development of women’s cricket,” Browne-John said.

“This event will provide an opportunity for girls to develop and showcase their skills. This year’s Under-19s Rising Stars tournament is an important step towards this goal.

“It will not only provide an opportunity for players to be part of West Indies Women’s history as we prepare for the World Cup, but also present a wider pool of Rising Stars to be developed to ensure a bright future for the senior West Indies Women’s team.”

Three matches will be played daily at each venue and will see the likes of Jannellia Glasgow and Zaida James turning out for Windwards, both players already a part of the West Indies senior set-up even though they have yet to make their international debuts.

Trishan Holder and Naijanni Cumberbatch, who featured for Barbados in the recent CWI senior white-ball championship in Guyana, will also bring their experience while Ashmini Munisar and Djenaba Joseph will lend their regional senior team knowledge to Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago, respectively.

Following the conclusion of the tournament, selectors will also choose a West Indies squad for a proposed international Under-19 series against the United States in Lauderhill, Florida.

Tournament Director Merissa Aguilleira said the inclusion of the USA for the upcoming championship was a positive.

“This tournament is very important, knowing that we have the first-ever ICC Women’s Under-19 World Cup next year in South Africa to look forward to,” said the former West Indies women’s captain.

“Exposing this pool of players to the international level will feed into the senior players pool, which is currently small, ultimately leading to an improvement of competitiveness for spots on the West Indies Women’s team.

“The players are excited to start competition; they’ve been very enthusiastic about the tournament.

“The addition of Team USA will add healthy competition for the regional teams. I am happy to see USA cricket making this investment in women’s cricket and must commend CWI for inviting them as part of their continued, wider, long-term strategic partnership.”

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