(SNO) — The selection panel of the Saint Lucia National Cricket Association has named 17 players to continue preparation for the 2019 Windward Islands Senior Goodwill Cricket Tournament.
West Indies player Johnson Charles is expected to lead the team, although he has played no part in the warm-up/trial games, due to his participation in the Pakistan Super League. The youthful squad is expected to be further cut to 13 in advance of the Windwards tournament, which gets underway on March 29 in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Among those retained from last year’s training squad are West Indies B and West Indies Under-19 player, Kimani Melius; Windward Islands Volcanoes spinner Larry Edward; Windwards contracted players, top-order batsman Tarryck Gabriel and all-rounder Audy Alexander; batsmen Jamaal James and Stephen Naitram; all-rounder Dornan Edward; Kevin Augustin; Shadrack Descartes; and speedster Dillan John.
Notable absentees include Keddy Lesporis and Dalton Polius, both of whom are playing in Trinidad and Tobago; Johnnel Eugene, who is playing in Barbados; former national captain, Craig Emmanuel; and Tonius Simon.
Replacing them is a group of players dominated by teenagers, several of whom have played for the West Indies youth team. That number comprises the likes of Windwards Under-17 captain and spin wizard, Simeon Gerson; hard-hitting batsman Garvin Serieux Jr.; West Indies Under-16 wicket keeper, Ackeem Auguste; Windward Islands youth player, Keygan Arnold; Kester Charlemagne; and Junior Henry.
There have been several criticisms from players that the national team was selected in the absence of a national competition. The Windwards tournament itself seems to serve no real purpose, as it has no direct bearing on whether players will go on to represent the Windward Islands in the regional series.