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THE NORTH/SOUTH cricket classics for Trinidad and Tobago’s Under-19, Under-17 and Under-15 players will be used as a launching pad in an aggressive campaign to reclaim regional titles later this year in the respective age groups.

This was made abundantly clear on Tuesday when the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board launched the 2016 edition of the eagerly awaited three-day 50-Overs a team fiesta which for the second straight year will by sponsored by Vasha Foods Limited of Freeport, central Trinidad.

Present at a media conference to announce details of the classics at the National Cricket Centre at Balmain in Couva were first vice-president of the TTCB Dr Allen Sammy, Chief Executive Officer SurujRagoonath, and Cricket Operations Manager DudnathRamkessoon.

Ragoonath, a former West Indies and national opening batsman, who still plays the game competitively, said that the three matches on June 3, 4, and 5 at the NCC Ground will be day-night affairs and will feature the best young cricket talent currently available to represent Trinidad and Tobago on the regional stage.

In expressing the TTCB’s appreciation to Vasha Foods for their generous sponsorship, Ragoonath said that the North/South Classics usually brings out the best in the cricketers and will serve as the final trial before the national squads are picked for the three regional tournaments.

“The national selectors will be looking at the players with a critical eye in an intense competitive environment especially in the 50-Overs format with an eye also on the ICC World Cup tournament in two years,” said Ragoonath.

He said the Under-15s will get the ball rolling on Friday, June 3; the Under-15s will be up next on Saturday, June 4; with the Under-19s on show on Sunday, June 5.

Trinidad and Tobago will host the regional Under-17 tournament from July 8 to 18, and will be looking to go one step further after finishing runners-up last year, and equate the accomplishment of 2013 when they captured the top prize.

The regional Under-15 competition will be held in Grenada from July 24 to August 4, which the local side ruled supreme in 2010 and 2013, but were set back in the last two years by inclement weather when the tournament was staged in Guyana and Jamaica respectively.

The Under-19s will take centre stage at the regional level in St Vincent and the Grenadines from July 24 to August 20. In the competition last year staged in Jamaica, the Trinidad and Tobago boys placed third.

Ragoonath urged cricket fans to turn up in their large numbers at the NCC next weekend and support the young stars in action as admittance to the venue is free with all matches timed to start at 2 pm.

Last year North made a historic clean sweep of the three classics,and will be depending heavily on the East Zone representatives in the squad to repeatin 2016 after capturing all three TTCB inter-zone age-group titles so far this year.

West Indies ICC World Under-19 Championship winner KirstanKallicharan has been named captain of the North Under-19 and Under-17 squads, while Leonardo Julien will skipper the Under-15s.

Tariq Mohammed is at the helm of the South Under-15s, while Cephas Cooper will lead the Under-17s, and SaibaBatoosingh will wear the captain’s armband of the Under-19s.

 

Under-19 Squads

NORTH: KirstanKallicharan (Captain), Keagan Simmons, Nathaniel McDavid, Jordan Warner, Brandon Maharaj, Sachin Seecharan, Joshua De Silva, Joey Samuel, Jean-Paul Rocke, Jonathan Bootan, Joshua James, Kristoff Lewis, Jerome Gibbs

 

SOUTH: SaibaBatoosingh (Captain), Adrian Paharry, Dejourn Charles, ShatrughanRambaran, Negus Smith, Cephas Cooper, EmiloGopaul, Bryan Boodram, Daniel Williams, JalanieSeales, Jabarie Mills, Shaaron Lewis, Ronnie Goddard

 

Under-17 Squads

SOUTH: Cephas Cooper (Captain), Christian Thurton, Matthew Patrick, Brandon Ali, Darius Gopaul, Rohan Singh, Jayden Seales, Jarrod Samaroo, Brandon Singh, Kyle Madoo, Fiaz John, Justyn Gangoo, AvinashMahabirsingh, Amit Gopaul

 

NORTH: KirstanKalicharran (Captain), Gereeb Lewis, Michael Ambard, NavinBedassie, Joshua James, Leonardo Francis, Nathaniel McDavid, Leonardo Julien, Shaundel Emmons, Te-Shaun Allen, Ronaldo Forester, Sameer Ali, TeronJadoo, RickashBoodram

 

Under-15 Squads

NORTH: Leonardo Julien (Captain), Samir Ali, RivaldoRamlogan, Geovanni Gajadar, Aryan Sammy, Mikal James, Orlando James, Sion Hackett, ChadeonRaymona, Andre Seetaram, Leon Bassano, Andrew Rambaran, Anderson Mahase

 

SOUTH: Tariq Mohammed (Captain), Antonio Gomez, Kyle Roopchand, Darren Samlal, Vanir Maharaj, Jayden Seales,Rahul Pitiram, Shiva Sankar, David Arjoon, Nicholas Ali, AmritMaharaj, Brandon Dookieran, KeironRampersad

Windies play Barbados Select XI

Current Test players Shai Hope and Jomel Warrican will feature for Barbados when a Select XI takes on the West Indies in two day/night 50-over games today and Friday in Barbados.
 
The two matches are part of the ongoing West Indies camp which started here last weekend, in preparation for the next month's Tri-Nations Series against World champions, Australia, and South Africa.
 
West Indies will raise the curtain on the June 3-26 next week Friday when they take on South Africa at the Guyana National Stadium.
 
The first leg of the tournament will be played in Guyana, with Warner Park in St Kitts hosting the second leg and Kensington Oval here providing the stage for the climax.
The National Cycling Velodrome has been handed over to the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago.
 
The Balmain facility was handed over on Tuesday after stringent checks were made on all competition surfaces.
 
The facility which sits next to the Aquatic Centre and the Ato Boldon Stadium has been outfitted with all the modern requirements for elite cycling and is expected to attract a number of foreign interests.
 
The inner parts of the facility can be used for other sports such as basketball, futsal, badminton, hockey and volleyball.
 
The National Aquatic Center is to be completed next, with the National Tennis center the last to be handed over to SPORTT.
Top seeds Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic finally made it through to the quarter-finals as the rain abated at the French Open.
 
Williams wasted little time in beating Ukraine's Elina Svitolina 6-1 6-1 in their rain-delayed fourth-round match
 
Djokovic completed a 3-6 6-4 6-1 7-5 win over Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut, having resumed in the third set.

Trump to attend Turnberry opening

US presidential hopeful Donald Trump is to attend the official opening of the revamped Open venue - Trump Turnberry in Ayrshire.
 
The US billionaire bought the hotel and golf course for an undisclosed sum in 2014 and subsequently added his name.
 
The golf course and most rooms in the hotel have now reopened following a £200m refurbishment.

Soca Warriors arrive in China

“At last”! Was the refrain from most of the members of the Trinidad and Tobago senior men’s football team when they arrived at their base in coastal city of Qinhuangdao on Monday for a friendly international versus China this coming Friday. Some of the weariness resulting from the over 24-hour commute from Uruguay dissipated though when the Soca Warriors settled into the luxurious Shangri-la Hotel on China’s north-eastern coast in the Hebei province.

“The accommodations are great but to get here was difficult, we will have to work on that part. Barring that, we will have a comfortable environment as we recover ahead of our game” according to Yohance Marshall.

“We faced some top opposition on this tour and that will continue on the final leg as we will match up against one of the rising powers in world football on their home turf,” added the warriors defender.

China is at 81st on the FIFA rankings while T&T is above at 53rd but that interesting statistic is not fooling anyone in came as the warriors are fully aware of the task ahead. That task is victory versus the host to close off a tour which so far has reaped two losses 4-0 versus Peru and 3-1 in Uruguay. The quest seems even more daunting if you consider the loss of personnel heading into China.

Coach Stephen Hart will be without captain Khaleem Hyland and the dangerous Levi Garcia as both return to their clubs to fulfill contractual duties. This coupled with the loss of outstanding W Connection defender Tristan Hodge could make for an interesting line-up in Qinhuangdao on Friday night. Hodge sustained a head injury during the match versus Uruguay and returned to Trinidad on the advice of doctors although tests showed no major concerns.

The team also lost Technical Committee Member Dr. Alvin Henderson whose contribution on the tour was immense according to coach Hart. Henderson sustain an injury in Uruguay while rushing to lend assistance to the medical team during the Hodge incident. The former Trinidad and Tobago striker also served as Head of delegation on the tour which is sponsored by Shanghai Construction Group (Caribbean), a position which will be taken up by TTFA Vice President Ewing Davis on his arrival on Wednesday.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Men’s team will complete their final bit of preparations on Thursday ahead of their international friendly with China at the Qinhuangdao Olympic Sports Center in Qinhuangdao at 7:30am TT time on Friday.

The team has settled in since their arrival from Montevideo earlier this week and the squad will be looking to end their slate of matches on a positive note against the hosts at the venue which was used to host football matches at the 2008 Olympic Games. It has a capacity of 33,572.

Local fans will be able to view the match live on Flow Sports Channel 95 from the 7:30am kick off.

Members of the team had a bit of time away from the rigors of training on Wednesday as they paid a visit to the world famous landmark, The Great Wall of China where they had the opportunity to interact with Chinese nationals and fans of the game as well as pose for photos. The Great Wall was constructed along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe.

“It was a great opportunity to take the players away from the training field a bit and get them out a bit at what is a great historical site,” head coach Stephen Hart told TTFA Media.

“It’s been a long tour but of course the main focus is preparing for the game on Friday. It’s going to be another challenging engagement for us but a great opportunity to test ourselves in these sort of conditions and against a team that is on the up,” Hart said.

“Generally the mood is quite good in the camp. The players are still very eager to go into the match and give a good account. I’ve gotten a lot from the tour so far in terms of what I had been looking for from players and certain situations that we’ve faced which is in line for our readiness for later down the road as well,” Hart added.

The tour which is sponsored by the Shanghai Construction Group Caribbean Limited, has also included two other friendlies with Peru and Uruguay which T&T lost 4-0 and 3-1 respectively.

Hero MotoCorp Ltd (HMCL), the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, today extended its Title Sponsorship of the popular Caribbean Premier League (CPL) for another three years. With this extension, the mega cricketing event will continue to be called the ‘Hero Caribbean Premier League’ until the 2018 season.
 
The New Delhi (India)-headquartered Hero MotoCorp became the Title Sponsor of the Twenty20 cricket league in the Caribbean for the first time in 2015. Hero has for long been a key partner of marquee events in various disciplines of sports - including cricket, soccer, field hockey and golf - in India and across the globe.    
 
Mr. Pawan Munjal, Chairman, Managing Director & CEO, Hero MotoCorp Ltd, said: “Cricket continues to be one of the most popular sports in various parts of the world, and the Hero CPL has become an eagerly-awaited annual event for cricket fans not just in the Caribbean but across the globe. The extension of our Title Sponsorship of the Hero CPL is also in keeping with the increasing global presence of Brand Hero, which is now present in 30 countries across Asia, Africa and South and Central America. The Hero CPL is now set to become one of the important events in Hero’s annual global sporting calendar.” 
 
The Hero CPL 2016 will be played between June 29 – August 7 at venues across seven territories - Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago, and Fort Lauderdale in the USA. 
  
Welcoming the contract extension, Mr. Richard Bevan, Chairman of the Hero Caribbean Premier League said: “On behalf of the Management and Board I am delighted to announce that Hero MotoCorp will continue its affiliation with CPL as Title Sponsor of the biggest party in sport for the next three years.
 
“Following the successes of the West Indies Men’s, Women’s and Under-19 teams on the international circuit over the last few months, we are excited about this year’s competition which will once again see the best Caribbean and international talent project their skills to a growing local and international audience. This year the CPL will be breaking new ground with the first foray for professional cricket into the USA, and we are delighted that Hero MotoCorp will be joining us on this journey.”
 
Mr. Damien O’Donohoe, Chief Executive Officer of CPL, added: “Hero MotoCorp is an internationally respected brand with a strong record of promoting and supporting the game of cricket. To have a title sponsor of their standing is a massive boost before a ball is bowled and their values and ambitions are closely aligned to our own; to develop a stylish and exciting brand on the world stage. Preparations continue at pace for the start of the 2016 campaign and we are delighted to continue our partnership with Hero MotoCorp for the foreseeable future.”
 
Last year’s tournament attracted a global audience in excess of 90 million and this year is set to be even higher as fans across the world continue to be drawn to the high quality action on the pitch and the unique party atmosphere off it. To purchase tickets for CPL 2016 visit www.cplt20.com.
Autralia's interim coach, Justin Langer has forecast the possibility of choosing two spinners on slow Caribbean surfaces in the tri-series with West Indies and South Africa that begins on June 3.
 
Langer does not want to tinker too much with a successful limited-overs formula.
 
Langer said conditions in Guyana where Australia play their first two matches of the series, meant both Nathan Lyon and Adam Zampa could join Glenn Maxwell and Steven Smith as spin options.
Cracks in the CARICOM-led opposition to the West Indies Cricket Board have come out wide open with Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne categorically opposing the dissolution of the WICB. 
 
Browne is a member of the CARICOM's sub-committee on cricket, which last November called the WICB "antiquated" and suggested it be replaced by an interim board.
 
However, Browne has said such a move would only push West Indies cricket into further turmoil.
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