When preparation meets opportunity- the story of Nedd and Sinclair

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By Akeem Greene in Trinidad

There is always sweet joy in winning a title. It essentially means you are better than the rest. After all, you won, the others didn’t.

That was the case for a group of budding talents, the West Indies Emerging Players, who will now don the limelight as 50-over champions of the Caribbean.

A crushing 205-run victory of Leeward Islands Hurricanes in Sunday’s final at the Queen’s Park Oval, completed the fairy tale run.

No doubt they had some fortunes reaching the knockout stages after a ragged end to their group phase. However, they walked away knowing they were the only team to defeat title favourites Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in the preliminaries and even toppled 2018 finalists Guyana Jaguars.

Fourteen young men proved a point that opportunities should be afforded to budding talents (Photo: CWI)

For Guyanese Kevin Sinclair and Ashmead Nedd, the joy was even sweeter since they have won a title, something that has eluded a Guyana team for the last 15 years.

Both were overlooked by the Guyana Jaguars, who failed to make the semi-finals this year.

Nedd, a left-arm spinner, who is a part of the West Indies Under-19 World Cup squad, has more opportunities to showcase his talent, but for Sinclair it would be back to the drawing board.

Kevin Sinclair has been a huge revelation in this tournament (Photo: CWI)

Sinclair took 4-20 in the final to cap off a season of 13 wickets at an average of 14.69 and a miserly economy rate of 2.87, the best in the tournament. Add 132 runs, and one can see how handy a cricketer is the Berbician.

“Chipping in with bat and ball in key moments for the team gave us the title this year. I must say consistency with bat and ball for me was most impressive,” the all-rounder related to News Room Sport.

He added, “It is a great accomplishment. Me and Neddy accomplished something that they [Guyana Cricket] did not accomplish [in 15 years], so it is good to know about winning a championship. Thanks to the almighty for guiding me throughout this tournament.”

On the other hand, Nedd used to tournament to gain knowledge ahead of another Youth World Cup. He took 11 wickets at an average of 10.27 and had an economy rate of 3.27.

“I was impressed with the way how I bowled.  First time playing in a List A tournament is challenging as a young spinner since they are few good batters in the Caribbean…more than likely they will be better pitches in South Africa [host for World Cup] so it will be having variety right throughout, bowling at a good pace and assessing the conditions quickly.”

The young lad from Demerara Cricket Club was a tad emotional on how he viewed the success of the Emerging Players in the tournament.

“It’s a big achievement. I performed well in the Guyana Jaguars Franchise league, thinking I could have gotten into the Guyana Jaguars team…few days before this tournament, I got a call by [Head Selector] Roger Harper saying that I was being selected for this team. I went home and told my father and he was happy…I prayed and coming into this tournament I just kept believing in myself.”

He added, “We trained hard. Even when it rained we still tried to put in some work. We just have been doing the right things. Sticking to the basics and playing simple cricket.”

Head Coach Floyd Reifer addressing the media after the final

The answer to whether there is talent in the region has been delivered again in the affirmative, but now how will they be developed into professional cricketers who can genuinely complete at the highest level?

Head Coach of the Emerging Players, Floyd Reifer, who won his second successive Super50 title, seems to have the answer.

“The future is bright for West Indies cricket. It is just a matter of getting these guys into high performance programmes and getting them training and performing every day. It is important these boys can get into an environment where they can perform and improve their skills and mind set.”

“It is important they understand the importance of becoming a high performance athlete. Guys become athletes before they even become good cricketers.”

He added, “People say rejects; I say this is a developmental team and it is important we won the competition this year, so hopefully the powers that be will find ways to keep us together.”

Without doubt, Reifer’s comment are spot on, but given the issues with funding in this part of the world cricket, it is left to be seen whether they will come to fruition.

At the end of the day, to get results, one must invest.

Will the powers that be invest further in West Indies cricket?

Time will tell.

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