Heroes’ welcome for Under-19s
Barbados, the WICB Regional Under-19 50-over champions, returned from Guyana yesterday to a triumphant welcome from friends, family and officials from the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA).
When captain Kraigg Brathwaite emerged from the arrival hall bearing the trophy of regional supremacy, his customary inscrutable look might have been mistaken for concern for the non-arrival of the team gear. However, the cheers of the family and supporters evoked a smile from Brathwaite and his band of successful teammates broke into wide grins.
CEO of the BCA Deighton Smith and vice-president Condé Riley were on hand to greet the team which won the 50-over tournament with an unbeaten record and some wide margins of victory. They were third in the three-day competition.
Proud coach Dexter Toppin had nothing but praise for his team which he described as being committed to doing well.
“The players were very focussed and with a number of them playing in their last tournament, they wanted to go out as champions,” he said.
Toppin, noting that the team was upbeat in the three-day tournament, said a number of washouts including the debacle in the Jamaica match prevented them from doing the double.
“We led Jamaica and on the last day we needed to bat positively to keep on top. Unfortunately, the pitch started to keep low and at times the ball was creeping and we did not bat as positively as we had planned,” he explained.
The former professional player indicated that he was confident that players like Anthony Alleyne, Justin Greaves and Kyle Mayers were on track to join Brathwaite at the higher level.
“I recognize that the senior team is a higher and different level, but I believe that Mayers should be involved with the Barbados limited-overs team next year.
“Five of these players will be going off to represent the West Indies and in order to revive Barbados’ cricket, the Centre of Excellence should be used to continue the development of these players, even the ones who have graduated from Under-19,” he said.