January 8, 2010
Windwards Senior Cricket Coach wants bigger team effort

Coach of the Windwards senior Cricket team to the 2010 West Indies Cricket Board four-day competition, Ian Allen, wants greater team effort if they are to maintain their second spot or even improve on their last placing.{{more}}

Allen told SEARCHLIGHT: “Well, looking back at the season last year, where we finished second, it gave me some level of confidence, especially with the combination of the team. This year, the guys have another opportunity to re-establish their form from last year, while those who fell short of their goals will also have another chance to do better.”

The former St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Windwards and West Indies fast bowler, however, wants greater team performance: “I am looking forward (to) the senior players (playing) their role well in helping the team do well, while opening up a learning atmosphere for the younger players.”

“ I am also looking forward (to) Devon (Smith) leading the batting, while some of the other youngsters follow and compete with him, likewise with Butler (Deighton) and Pascal (Nellon) with the bowling. Generally, I am looking forward to a bigger team effort, where most players will be contributing at the right time.”

The Windwards open their 2010 campaign today, Friday, at Chedwin Park against Jamaica, and Allen said that they would be going all out to go one better than last year.

“We will be looking to win the tournament because I believe we have players in the team who know how to win, but we will have to be consistent in doing so,” he projected.

“For the past few tournaments, we have been beating every team, hence the reason we have gained some respect from the traditional power house of West Indies cricket, and because of that, we also have gained some confidence in ourselves as a team. But every tournament is a new one, and what I believe will help us is the belief we will have to constantly have in ourselves and execute our plans well,” Allen added.

The Windwards had a two-day practice match against the Combined Campuses and Colleges last weekend, but Allen would have preferred longer preparations.

“The ideal preparation would have been getting the guys together for a longer period involving several practice matches. I am hoping that all the players were taking the training programme seriously, which was sent out to them just after the one-day tournament in October, so that when they get to the tournament, their fitness level will be at the required standard,” the right arm fast bowler said.

Allen is also using the competition to get more players on the West Indies Senior team, the West Indies A team, as well as the planned academy this year where the WICB will be looking for 25 young players from the tournament.

Speaking on the innovations of day/night matches and the experiment of pink balls, Allen said: “I believe it’s a good innovation in the sense that it will give every first class player in the region this year an opportunity to play under such condition – a condition which some first class players would have never had unless they play international cricket.”

“Cricket has evolved so rapidly over the past ten or so years, we have to be open to what we have to play with. Concerning the pink ball itself, we just have to wait and see how it will survive for 90 plus overs under two different conditions,” he concluded.

The Windwards will be led for the first time by Darren Sammy, who replaces long standing leader, Rawl Lewis.

The full team is Sammy, Rawl Lewis, Devon Smith, Tyrone Theophile, Andre Fletcher, Donwell Hector, Liam Sebastian, Keddy Lesporis, Linden James, Shane Shilingford, Kenroy Peters, Deighton Butler and Nellon Pascal. (RT)