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John: Windwards cannot be written off

John: Windwards cannot be written off

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President of the Windward Islands Cricket Board Lennox John believes that despite the Windwards continued poor showing at the four-day regional competition, the team cannot be written off.

His reasoning is against the backdrop of the relatively youthful nature of the outfit and thinks they must be given time to develop.{{more}}

“We cannot completely write them off. I don’t fault them as we don’t play enough cricket, as we don’t have money to play longer tournaments”, John said in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT last Wednesday afternoon.

He said that greater efforts would be made to get more players in the English leagues, so that they can get more opportunities to play competitive cricket.

John stated that over the years the Windward Islands have not been able to come up with the right blend to be competitive.

The Windwards which has been playing as a unit since 1982 after the Combined Islands outfit that included the Leewards split, has placed no fewer than ten times at the bottom of the table.

“This is a concern but it is heartening that we are doing well at the shortened version of the game”, the long-standing president observed.

The Windwards had a rare chance of lifting regional silverware and the US$10,000 last Saturday at the Arnos Vale Playing Field in the final of the KFC Cup.

They however faltered after being comfortably positioned to beat Trinidad and Tobago. A loss that disappointed team captain Rawle Lewis who thought that the young players were not coming on fast enough.

Lewis had set up the Windwards run chase with a blistering 39 off 37 balls including four fours and a six. His dismissal yorked by pacer Ravi Rampaul with the score at 188 for 8. Set 211 for victory, the home side were given an 82 run opening stand by Lynden James and Devon Smith. When Smith was fifth out, brilliantly caught for 81 by Dave Mohammed, the Windwards chances faded before Lewis’ knock of hope. Panic set in and needing ten runs off the last over with the last pair at the wicket, the Windwards folded at 205 with two balls remaining.

Trinidad and Tobago had recovered from 45 for 3, to compile 210 for 8 in their 50 overs. Left-hander Sherwin Ganga held the innings together with a patient 64. He then bowled 10 miserly overs for 17 runs to be named Player of the Final.

The Windwards reached the final with a three-wicket triumph over Barbados the previous day. The Windwards successfully chased Barbados’ 155, reaching 156 for 7, with Smith making 75 not out.

Trinidad and Tobago silenced the 2006 champion Guyana by 5 wickets last week Thursday.

Guyana crawled to 114 and Trinidad and Tobago with a revised target made 109 for 5.

The Windwards though took three of the major awards. Smith was adjudged the best batsman, James – the best wicket keeper and left arm fast bowler Deighton Butler – the best bowler.

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