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‘Windwards no longer pushover’

‘Windwards no longer pushover’

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Coach of the Windward Islands senior cricket team, which placed third in the just concluded Caribbean T/20 competition, Vincentian Ian Allen, believes that the other territories are beginning to take notice of them.{{more}}

The Windwards placed third in the competition, and had the distinction of being the only team to beat the eventual champions, Trinidad and Tobago.

“Reaching the semi-finals on consecutive occasions in the T/20 tournaments, it’s an achievement, considering the reputation of the so-called big countries, as never again they can look at Windward islands and believe it’s an easy walkover,” Allen stated.

Given the mindset of the players, Allen, a former St Vincent and the Grenadines, Windwards and West Indies fast bowler, said: “We believe we could beat any team we came up against, which gave us the confidence going into these matches, but even though we didn’t win the tournament, we continue to make strides in West Indies cricket in all versions of the game and this is because the players are improving.”

Not resting on the laurels of the team, Allen added. “I believe we still have work to do in the area of consistency on the field of play, but that’s sports; but, in time, I believe we will get there,” Allen added.

Analysing his team’s performance in the T/20 competition, Allen said : “I am really proud of the guys for their performances.”

Allen claimed that they went into the tournament with one goal and that was to win.

“From the beginning of the build-up, with a one-week camp in Antigua, our main focus was winning the tournament,” Allen stated.

The Windwards topped Group A, with wins over Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, the Leewards and Guyana in the preliminary round of competition.

In the semi-finals, the Windwards lost to Jamaica, but banged Barbados, in the third place play-off.

“What we did was we decided to play as a team and build on each other’s success, support each other and remain focussed,” Allen said.

Allen praised the batting of Johnson Charles who was the tournament’s highest run scorer, as well as Devon Smith and Captain Darren Sammy.

Allen said that Sammy’s captaincy was also a key factor.

“He (Sammy) came to the tournament from a disappointing Asian tour, but I think he had to re-establish his name in regional cricket and it paid off to some extent, as he is still learning the art of captaincy, but once he gets the support from his team, and loves what he is doing, he will get better,” Coach Allen observed.

Noting the many challenges facing the four islands, Allen said he believes in competitions, considering the issue of the separation of the four islands, especially when it comes to assembling before a tournament; they understand the challenges of the Windwards Cricket Board and they are thinking beyond, by just looking to do the things that they have control over, which are “to play and train hard”.

The Windwards, who reached the semi-finals of the 2011 four-day competition, face Jamaica from February 3 to 6, in their opening match of the 2012 competition. (RT)

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