Spots up for grabs as Harpy Eagles prepare for new Four-Day season

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The Guyana Harpy Eagles will be engaged in at least two Four-Day practice matches before the squad is named for the first round of the Regional Four-Day tournament that starts February 1.

News Room Sport has been reliably informed that the first practice match is scheduled to start on January 11 at the National Stadium, Providence, and the other could potentially commence January 17 after which the Eagles’ squad is expected to be named.

It is understood that Rabindranauth Seeram, who replaced Ramnaresh Sarwan as chairman of the selection panel in March 2022, is expected to be assisted by Albert Smith (Berbice), Peter Persaud (Demerara) and Elroy Stephany (Essequibo) in selecting that squad.

The players for the practice matches are expected to come from those contracted and others on the fringes of the national set-up.

These two matches could prove extremely vital to who makes the final cut, as there are spots up for the taking.

A new Four-Day season awaits the five-time franchise champions

With West Indies’ two-Test tour of Zimbabwe starting in late January after which they head to South Africa for two Tests, three One-Day Internationals, and three Twenty20 Internationals, there is all likelihood key players from the Harpy Eagles’ set-up could be absent due to West Indies duties, paving the way for the fringe players to grab an opportunity.

The Harpy Eagles, five-time winners of the Professional Cricket League Four-Day championship that started in 2014, have not won the last two seasons, which were cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last season, which was played solely in Trinidad and consisted of just five rounds instead of the usual 10, Harpy Eagles (61.8 points) finished third behind Barbados Pride (76.2 points), who have now won back-to-back titles, and Leeward Hurricanes (72.6 points).

This championship will also be just five rounds, but there is the added bonus of making one of the ‘select’ squads to compete in a new series after the championship.

Johnny Grave, CEO of Cricket West Indies, said: “We are delighted to unveil the Headley-Weekes series, which is a new idea that will extend the Four-Day season, create more opportunities for our players to showcase their skills and will be a huge incentive for them to strive towards selection into our ‘A’ team, and ultimately our Test team. It will also provide some strong competitive red-ball cricket for our new West Indies Academy players as we continue to try to ensure that the next generation of players is being prepared along the pathway to international cricket.”

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULES

West Indies Championship 2023 (for Headley Weekes trophy)

1 to 4 February: 1st round in Grenada and Antigua

8 to 11 February: 2nd round in Grenada and Antigua

15 to 18 March: 3rd round in Trinidad

22 to 25 March: 4th round in Trinidad

29 March to 1 April: 5th round in Trinidad

Full Fixtures to be announced soon

Headley Weekes Tri-Series (to be played at CCG)

19 to 22 April: Team Headley v West Indies Academy

26 to 29 April: Team Weekes vs West Indies Academy

3 to 6 May: Team Weekes vs Team Headley

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