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Chance for Windies ‘A’ to move up

by Hayden Gill

Chance for Windies ‘A’ to move up

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THE upcoming series between the West Indies “A”team and their Pakistan counterparts serves a number of purposes, but development is the main aim.
That’s the assessment of West Indies ‘A’ head coach Hendy Springer in the build-up to the series which begins in Antigua tomorrow with the first of two Twenty20 matches.
“With the ‘A’ team, it is all about development, trying to push guys and prepare them to going into the senior West Indies team,” he said.
“We’re looking to win the series and to gain experience so that when the selectors call, we can have someone to put forward.”
It is the third successive series this year that Springer will be in charge of a West Indies ‘A’ team.
He was also coach for a home series against Bangladesh and a trip to England and he has observed positives among the players.
“There has been some improvement and development. We can define that by looking at the number of guys who have graduated from the ‘A’ team since the Bangladesh tour who are in senior team now,” Springer said.
“You want to prepare them as well as possible so that they won’t go into the senior team for a short visit but they go to stay.
“It is a lot of work in the ‘A’ team. It is a necessity as far as the development of West Indies cricket is concerned.”
Among those who created a favourable impression with the junior team earlier in the year were gifted Trinidadian batsman Darren Bravo and promising Jamaican fast bowling all-rounder Andre Russell, both of whom have been rewarded with a trip to Sri Lanka with the senior West Indies squad.
The two Twenty20 matches at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground will be followed by three 50-overs-a-side games in Grenada and two four-day “Test” matches in St Vincent.
“It is about the opportunity to play, to compete against strong A teams, get experience and I will hope that in a couple of months, some of these guys will do well enough to stamp their authority at the senior team level.” Springer said.
The ‘A’ concept, which was first introduced in the early 1990s, has been played on an off over the years, but in an effort to focus on a vibrant development thrust, the West Indies Cricket Board has revived the programme this year with plans already in the pipeline for similar series next year.
It is a move that is welcomed by Springer, a former successful Barbados coach who is now the Barbados Cricket Association’s director of coaching.
“The ‘A team’ serves a number of purposes. It is to congratulate some of those guys who have done well at regional level,” Springer said.“It is also an opportunity to give the guys an opportunity to play against stronger opposition and it can be used as a remedial base where some guys in the senior West Indies team who are struggling a bit of a place to come back so.”West Indies ‘A’ squad for Twenty20 matches: Dave Bernard Jr (captain) Jason Holder (vice-captain), Miles Bascombe, Devendra Bishoo, Johnson Charles, Kirk Edwards, Andre Fletcher, Jonathan Foo, Danza Hyatt, Nikita Miller, Ashley Nurse, Ravi Rampaul, Krishmar Santokie. Team management unit: Henderson Springer (head coach), Stuart Williams (assistant coach), Lyndel Wright (manager), Janel Springer (physiotherapist).