Under-19 Players to Watch
Thu, Aug 7, '03
Over the years, the West Indies Under-19 tournament has fed some of the best talent into the senior side. From Carl Hooper to Brian Lara to Shiv Chanderpaul and Ronnie Sarwan, they've all used the spotlight of the youth tournament to prove they belong at the next level.
This year is no different. From star players who grab most of the headlines to the dark horses that fly under the radar, CaribbeanCricket.com has identified 11 players to keep a close eye on during this year's TCL Group Under-19 tournament in Guyana...
LIAM SEBASTIAN (Windward Islands)
Liam has some big shoes to fill. His father Lockhart is rated as one of the best batsmen to ever come out of the Windward Islands and it looks like the chips didn't fall far from the old block. A solid middle order batsman, the 18-year-old Dominican left-hander was fourth in last year's Under-19 batting averages (250 runs; avg 50.00; HS 125).
This year, he will captain the Windwards side and fans are hoping he can transform his natural talent into consistent scores in Guyana. A strong on-side batsman, Liam must curb his natural aggression and look for big scores if he is to prove he is ready for the next level. He is a smart cricketer who chips in with tight off-breaks.
DENESH RAMDIN (Trinidad & Tobago
The Trinidad & Tobago captain had a disappointing season with the bat last year but, after solid performances in local club circles, a lot is expected from the right-handed middle order batsman. Ramdin, a sharp wicket-keeper, was a member of the West Indies Under-15 side that won the World Cup in 2000 and he has progressed nicely through the ranks. A member of the Clico Preysal/Presentation College club, he was voted Secondary Schools Cricketer of the year.
SIMON JACKSON (Jamaica)
Ardenne High School's Simon Jackson plays again this year and leads the team. A left-handed opener, Jackson works very hard at his game. He is not the most attractive or aggressive batsman, but he will stay at the crease for ages. He had a fair season last year scoring two fifties (HS 86) and finished the season with an average of 42.60 and an aggregate of 213 runs from six games. If he plays with softer hands this year, he could produce more runs as last year many strokes went straight to fielders.
Jackson had a very good season in the Grace Shield this year and also played in the Junior Cup for Kingston Cricket Club. Although Ardenne lost the final of the 'A' league, he was named top all-rounder with 497 runs and 22 wickets in the George and Brandy 'A' League. A batsman in the mould of Jimmy Adams, Jackson took home the Carlton Alexander Award for sportsmanship, leadership and discipline. Jackson has also excelled in his academics and will enter UWI next month to read for a Degree in Banking and Finance.
ZAHEER MOHAMED (Guyana)
Mohamed, in his second Under-19 tournament, has developed into the team's leading bowler with his attacking off-breaks. A big turner of the ball, he has excellent control and is fast shaping up as the bowler to watch out for in this tournament. While more known for his bowling, Zaheer is also a competent batsman although, with Guyana's depth in batting, not many opportunities may come his way.
One can rest assured though that when the chance comes he will grab it with both hands. Zaheer, who plays for Enterprise on the East Coast of Demerara in local competitions, first represented Guyana at the Under-15 level in 2001 and although he has exactly set the cricket world alight it is only matter of time before he sets that right.
XAVIER MARSHALL (Jamaica)
The most talked about player on Jamaica's side this year is York Castle's attractive right hander Xavier Marshall. A genuine all-rounder, he was third in the batting averages last year and the buzz was about his 'Yagga'-like batting strokes. Marshall is a gifted player and delivered with both the bat and ball during the Wilco Headley Cup (rural high Schools' Competition this year). In one of the matches, Marshall scored 126 runs (off 132 balls) with nine fours and six sixes and then took 4-20.
First spotted in England when he played on the U-15 team, Marshall was offered a short term cricket scholarship arranged by Jamaican-born Mayor of Trafford, Councillor Whit Stennett. He has not disappointed and won man of the match in his first game for the Sails Cricket team in Greater Manchester last month. All teams should watch this youngster and worry, since he is not yet eighteen. He can be overly aggressive and sometimes gets out carelessly but he makes up for that with confidence and good technique.
(Trinidad & Tobago)
An aggressive right-arm pacer, Rampaul burst on to the scene with a record-breaking display last year, finishing the Under-19 tournament with 45 wickets at 7.22 per. He opened the competition with a 10-wicket haul and came thisclose to bowling Trinidad & Tobago to the title. A reliable left-handed batsman, Rampaul was a member of the victorious West Indies Under-15 World Cup side and progressed through the ranks to make his first class debut in this year's Carib Cup.
He ended the Carib Cup tournament with 18 wickets, including a personal best of 5-53. Has struggled with a back injury that has slowed his progress and his health will be crucial to T&T's success this year.
ASSAD FUDADIN (Guyana)
In his third year at this level, the aggressive left-hander is literally set to lead the Guyana team from the front. The team's leading batsman is also its captain and a right-arm medium-pacer competent enough to use the new ball as early as his first tournament in 2001. Fudadin first came to prominence at Lord's in England in 2000 when he helped the West Indies lift the Lombard Challenge Under-15 trophy with an attractive half-century in the final.
Once likened to former West Indies and Guyana great Alvin Kallicharran, Fudadin is a powerful striker of the ball, keen to let the bowler know who is boss. As his team mates at Rose Hall Town Sports Club on the Corentyne can attest to, he also has a level head on his shoulders. He scored the only century by a Guyanese in the 2002 tournament in Jamaica and is quoted as saying he is looking for over 400 runs this time around. Very ominous sounding if you are a bowler in the opposition ranks.
KRISHMAR SANTOKIE (Jamaica)
Another youngster to watch on the Jamaican team is the left-arm pacer Krishmar Santokie. Like Jackson and Marshall, Santokie played last year and he did very well with the ball taking twenty wickets at 9.55 with two five-wicket hauls. This youngster from Clarendon and Glenmuir High is a wicket-taker. He can also hold a bat. He has taken wickets and scored runs for Glenmuir this year and has also taken crucial wickets for Clarendon. Krishmar?s father also loves the game of cricket and takes full responsibility for his son?s obsession with the game. The two are often seen at cricket matches, even when young Santokie is not playing.
This is Santokie's last year at the Under-19 level and he will want to bow out with a bang. He moves the ball both ways and has a lethal yorker. A level-headed cricketer, he enjoys excellent support from a strong family unit. He needs to concentrate on his batting and work on developing into a genuine all-round cricketer.
MARTIN NURSE (Barbados)
A left-hander with a healthy appetite for runs, Nurse has scored over 2,000 runs in the senior club championship in Barbados over the last three years. He has already played in the senior Barbados side and in the West Indies 'B' team in this year's Carib Beer Cup. The 18-year-old will skipper the Barbados side this year and will look to continue his run-scoring form from last year's Under-19 tournament where he had the most runs (334 runs; avg 41.75). His one weakness is that he's an overly aggressive batsman who gets out too often when well set. He needs concentrate harder and turn 50s into 100s.
RUEL BRATHWAITE (Barbados)
A tall, bespectacled fast bowler, Brathwaite created a stir on debut last year and immediately secured the first ever Cricket Scholarship to Dulwich College in England. A level-headed bowler, he generates good pace and could cause some problems for batsmen this year. In last year's Under-19 competition, he finished with 15 wickets (9.93 per; BB 5-39) and if he maintains his hard-working ways, he could be the trump card for Barbados this year. The 18-year-old from Combined Schools needs to work on his batting.
WILLIAM PERKINS (Rest of Americas)
A dashing right-handed wicketkeeper batsman, Perkins was picked for the Trinidad squad for this year's Under-19 tournament before migrating to the U.S last month. The 17-year-old Perkins is the only U.S youth player in the 'Rest of the Americas' side and could be the team's MVP if given the opportunity. He has a wide array of strokes on both sides of the wicket and is considered a reliable stumper.
* Thanks to Dr Christine Cummings, Valentino Singh, Frederick Halley, Adriel Richard, Donovan Matthews and Orin Davidson for assistance in compiling this list.