Two promising Canadians are part of the first ever International Cricket Council (ICC) Americas region high performance one-week camp that started yesterday in St. Kitts.
Wicketkeeper/batsman Rustam Bhatti, who captained Canada in last year’s Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand and medium-pacer Maninderjit Aulakh who was the top wicket-taker in the just concluded Americas youth series in Florida, join two players each from World Cricket League (WCL) countries Argentina, the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the United States and Suriname at the camp at Warner Park.
ICC Development Performance Officer for the Americas, Andy Pick, said each country was requested to nominate their best two players between the ages of 17 and 24.
“They had to have represented their age-group level or the senior team and the coaches had to have felt that they are going to be part of their plans moving forward,” said Pick. “Those were some of the requirements for their selection. I think we have a strong group of players that will be supported by a top level coaching staff.”
ICC Americas Development Officer, Wendell Coppin, is managing the camp while Pick is the head coach who is also working with the fast bowlers. England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Player Development manager, John Abrahams, is assisting the batsmen, ECB Level Four coach Chris Brown is helping the spinners and Argentina’s national coach Toby Bailey, who represented English county Northamptonshire for eight years up until 2004, is the fielding and wicket keeping coach.
Irish sports psychologist David Scott and Barbadian physiotherapist Alicia Brewster are also at the camp.
“We are pleased with the high quality of support staff we have for what is going to be a very busy seven days,” said Pick who coached Canada in the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean. “The day will start with a 15-minute briefing from the psychologist before the start of the first session that will involve generic batting with all the players.
“After that, we will split up for an hour into specialist disciplines and then do an hour of fielding practice before lunch. The afternoon session will be dedicated to match practice scenarios and, at night, we will sit down with the stats from the day and look at where we did well, where we need to improve and then put together a game plan that will lead to a match on the penultimate day of the camp against a St. Kitts & Nevis XI.
“The aim is to give extra help to developing the best young players in the region who will hopefully go on to represent their countries at the senior level. It’s difficult for the countries that can’t afford a full-time coach and this will be an eye-opener for them in that nothing they have been exposed to will be close to what they will get in the next few days. We are hoping to sort of educate the players indirectly and give them a glimpse of how the top countries do it. This is the start of having an Americas academy and it sort of fits in a little bit with the fact that we are looking to do more as a region.”
Bermudans medium-pacer Malachi Jones, who took a wicket with his first ball in World Cup cricket when the burly Dwayne Leverock took a magnificent one-handed catch at slip to dismiss Indian batsman Robin Uthappa in the 2007 competition, and all-rounder Rodney Trott who has played in 11 One-Day Internationals and 10 first-class games, are also at the camp.
The rest of the participants are Agustin Husain and Alejandro Tissera (Argentina); Jonathan Barry and Gregory Taylor (the Bahamas); Marlon Bryan and Kervin Ebanks (Cayman Islands); Rajeev Jagroep and Shilton Jubithana (Suriname) and Abhijit Joshi and Steven Taylor (USA).
Nevisian all-rounder Adelvin Phillip and Kittitian right-handed opener Akheam Fox, who represented the Leeward Islands in the West Indies Under-19 competition two years ago, have also been invited to the camp.
“We extended an invitation to the St. Kitts & Nevis Association to send two players as a gesture of the goodwill they extended to us for the use of their excellent facilities,” said Pick, a former English county medium-pacer who was an Under-19 coach for nine years with the ECB and a fast bowling consultant with his former club Nottinghamshire in 2009.