THREE Trinidad and Tobago cricketers have been selected by Cricket West Indies (CWI) in the inaugural batch for the CWI Emerging Players Academy in Antigua. The 15-member group will start work at the Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG) from July 1 for high-performance training and development sessions.
The TT selections include Tobago's Joshua James and Trinidadians Keagan Simmons and Leonardo Julien.
Several recent members of the West Indies Rising Stars U-19 programme are included. Two notable selections are Teddy Bishop and Kevin Wickham, who both made centuries for the West Indies Rising Stars U-19s during the ICC U-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup played in the West Indies earlier this year.
Others who have graduated from the West Indies Rising Stars U-19s team to the regional franchise teams include Simmons, Kirk McKenzie and former captain, Ackeem Auguste; along with left-arm spinners Ashmead Nedd and Joshua Bishop; and left-arm fast bowler Ramon Simmonds. Also selected to the Academy squad is allrounder Nyeem Young, who was in the West Indies men’s white-ball training camp in April.
Jimmy Adams, CWI’s Director of Cricket welcomed the players. He said: “We want to offer a special welcome to the young men who have been selected to form the first cohort for the CWI Emerging Players programme. They are a talented group of players, who we are sure will enjoy the benefits of their hard work. CWI has been looking at ways of bridging that critical gap between our junior and professional levels and this academy initiative provides us with a great start towards achieving this. This will also play an important role in building regional capacity within high-performance player support – technical, physical, mental, and personal development.”
The plan for a CWI Emerging Players Academy was first announced in March. It will function as a nexus between regional junior and senior teams while supporting the development of talented players between the ages of 19 and 25. The academy will have five primary objectives: building capacity of players, support staff and high-performance resources; management of talent; personal development – develop person first and then the player; demonstrate best practice, including recruitment, selection and preparation; accelerating player development and increasing readiness of players for international cricket.
The selection panel met and recommended the 15 players based on a formula which included consultations with each of the six territorial boards. Six reserves have also been selected as cover for players who may be selected for their franchises for regional competitions.
The first Emerging Players camp has several objectives and the main focus during the initial period will be to ensure the management of talent; players’ personal development – especially creating a breeding ground for leaders in the game; accelerating development – reinforcing the importance of knowledge on the physical components; as well as increasing the readiness of the players for the international stage – with a focus on specific skill sets identified by the head coach of the senior team.
Nyeem Young expressed his eagerness and readiness. He said: “This is a massive opportunity for myself and all the other players involved. I can't wait to get to Antigua to get started and get involved. Being a player who has come through the West Indies Rising Stars U-19 system and being at the senior white-ball camp a few months back, this is a chance to further my skills. This will benefit all of us as we look to the future and I believe the camp will also help to build camaraderie.”
Inaugural academy: Kevlon Anderson, Ackeem Auguste, Joshua Bishop, Teddy Bishop, McKenny Clarke, Joshua James, Leonardo Julien, Johann Layne, Kirk McKenzie, Ashmead Nedd, Kelvin Pitman, Keagan Simmons, Ramon Simmonds, Kevin Wickham, Nyeem Young.
Reserves: Anderson Amurdan, Brad Barnes, Camarie Boyce, Kirstan Kallicharan, Shaaron Lewis, Kimani Melius.