DEFENDING champions Central Zone are confident of retaining their title in this year’s Scotiabank NextGen Under-15 Inter Zone Cricket Tournament which bowls off, on Wednesday.
Triple crowned last year in the Under-13, Under-15 and Under-17 categories and runners-up among the Under-19s, Central open their campaign against South East, which they beat in last year’s final.
The 50-overs per team contest match is the highlight of Wednesday’s first round of matches and will be staged from 9.30 am at the National Cricket Centre Ground in Balmain, Couva.
Chairman of the Central Zone, Anderson Ramdath, said on Tuesday that the team is brimming with enthusiasm with six members of last year’s winning Under-13 team moving up into the Under-15 ranks.
Central will be led for the first time by talented allrounder Luke Ali, a Presentation College, Chaguanas student, who was a reserve on the TT team which won the Cricket West Indies Under-15 tournament last year.
A key member of the TT team was Alexander Chase who is also expected to play a big role in the Central Under-15 effort, along with Adrian Mahase, recently returned from a one-month cricket coaching scholarship to India.
Also in the Central Zone squad is pint-sized spinner Tommy Walsh, winner of the MVP award in the Under-13 Inter Zone Tournament last year.
Ramdath, an executive member of the TT Cricket Board said that apart from a new captain, the Under-15s will be coached for the first time by Prakash Sookhai who has had big success with the age group teams of Preysal, and Alescon Comets.
Sookhai was the successful coach of the Central Zone Under-13 champion team last year and has been moved to the Under-15s where he is expected to continue his successful run.
Manager of the squad is Farouk Ghany who has also been associated with winning trophies with age group teams in the Central Zone over the years.
FIRST ROUND FIXTURES
Tobago vs North East, Shaw Park, Tobago
East vs North, Buggy Haynes Ground, Tunapuna
South East vs Central, National Cricket Centre, Balmain
South vs South West, PowerGen Ground, Penal