The Leeward Islands Hurricanes will lose five players to West Indies duty as they continue preparations ahead of the 2016/17 Professional Cricket League (PCL) slated to bowl off later this year.
Antiguan all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall, Anguillan wicketkeeper Jahmar Hamilton and Kittitian all-rounder Keiran Powell have all been selected for the West Indies A team’s tour of Sri Lanka starting later this month.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes will also lose young sensational Antiguan fast bowler Alzarri Joseph who has been called to the ODI squad for the first time and Trinidadian batsman Nicholas Pooran who has been selected in the T20 squad.
Both teams will tour Pakistan with the T20 tour starting September 20 and the ODI tour starting 10 days later.
A sixth Leeward Islands player, Anguillan Montcin Hodge, has been placed on standby for the A Team.
Coach of the Leeward Islands team, Reginald Benjamin, was understandably happy with the developments.
“You know there are going to be criticisms and stuff, but Leeward Islands will be proudly represented with three of our players on that A Team and one is in reserve. We are doing good and we are proud with the direction the Leeward Islands is taking and we will continue to work hard,” he said.
“It’s not only Alzarri and Jimbo [Cornwall] but we have two others who will be leaving plus Nicholas Pooran, so Leeward Islands on a whole has five players out so we are down to 10,” he added.
The Antiguan, who will enter his third year as coach of the sub-regional squad, is also pleased with having acquired Pooran, predicting it will significantly boost the team’s batting prowess.
“He’s an exciting player, someone who knows how to make runs and that is important. I know he is hungry because he was injured and coming back and a player like that will come and contribute greatly, not only to Leeward Islands, but to West Indies cricket,” Benjamin said.
“His name didn’t come out until the day before or two days before the draft, so he was a late addition and we were glad that happened and we could not pass that opportunity.”
The coach, however, laments the absence of Antiguan all-rounder and last season’s vice captain, Orlando Peters from the line-up.
“I have expressed my concerns about that but we have a selection panel. He has played well and shown improvement over the years but the structure wasn’t there, but now [it] is here, I think the players who are here should take opportunity to improve. Orlando, unfortunately is not here but God forbids, something happens, I know his name will be first on the list,” Benjamin said.
The 2016/17 Professional Cricket League is slated to bowl off on November 11 when Leeward Islands will take on Barbados in their opening 4-Day fixture.
Source – Antiguaobserver.com