CAVE HILL, Barbados -- Head coach of the Sagicor West Indies High Performance Centre Graeme West has hailed the work ethic of the current squad of emerging players in the current training programme.
West said the current group of players are moving in the right direction and he was looking forward to their upcoming trip to Bangladesh to discover how much they have progressed.
“The group has been excellent to work with,” said West. “They have had a good attitude, a good work ethic, not a single player has missed a day’s training other than for injury. The commitment has been 100 percent.
“What we now need to work hard on is honing the skills, specifically for the different conditions, and different types of match situations. Right now, there are three forms of the game, and if you want to be an international player, you have got to master all three.”
He said: “I think a lot of the players would say they are strong in one or possibly two forms of the game, but they have a lot of work to do in the third format.
“A number of the players have limited first-class experience and so practice matches like on Thursday against the senior West Indies side are invaluable because they are getting to see first-hand the type of quality that they will encounter on the international stage.”
The HPC team, led by all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite, leaves on Monday for a month-long trip to Bangladesh, where they will play four-day matches against the Bangladesh National Cricket Academy and national A-Team.
They also face the Bangladesh A-Team in three One-day matches and two Twenty20s.
The squad to Bangladesh has been increased to 16 with the addition of Veerasammy Permaul. The left-arm spinner replaces World Twenty20-bound West Indies batsman Johnson Charles.
Permaul was a member of the first group of HPC players and was elevated to the role of West Indies A-Team captain for recent matches against India-A.
West said he expected the conditions in Bangladesh to prove to be one of the biggest hurdles for the players.
“It is going to be quite a big challenge for a number of the players that have never played in Bangladesh or India or Pakistan or Sri Lanka,” he said.
“We have tried our best to prepare them for the type of conditions that they will experience over there. This will be a huge challenge for them, rather than playing in their own home territory in conditions that are familiar to them.”
He added: “We are prepared for a lot of spin and a lot of turning pitches. We have prepared them for very hot weather. Ultimately, we will playing against the group of players that are 100 per cent committed to playing cricket and will give possibly everything that they have.
“This will be the big obstacle. We know we have the ability and the HPC is all about development. The next month will be about developing skills and hopefully some of the players will get an opportunity on the international stage to play there again.”
West gave the HPC team a passing grade for their performance against the senior West Indies side, which has been using the same facilities at the Three Ws Oval to prepare for the World Twenty20 Tournament this month in Sri Lanka.
The two sides met in a practice match, which the HPC lost by 44 runs on Thursday.
“Overall, I am very pleased with the way that they played in the practice match against the senior West Indies side,” he said.
“They were competitive. At the 15-over mark in both innings, we were ahead. What we saw was that little bit of extra experience and quality when it really mattered – and it really exposed us.
He said: “The great thing is that the players have gone head-to-head with some very fine international players and shown they have the ability to be competitive at that level.
“What they now need is to reflect on what took place in this match, and when it comes down to the crunch situations, what it takes to be a little bit better.”
West noted one of the significant improvements has been the fitness levels of the players.
“They have been working on their energy, their enthusiasm in the field, and again we maintained it, taking our chances in the field,” he said.
“Right now, it is about going back and discussing how we can be tighter and sharper with our skills, and making sure the cricket improves at the same rate.”
The HPC squad has been encamped since June 1 this year at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies here.
The HPC programme has been broadened to focus more intensely on developing the mental prowess of the players, in addition to the standard rigorous training in skills development and fitness required for high performance athletes.
The players are also benefitting from specialised training in a number of other areas including their roles as ambassadors, personal development, anti-doping, anti-corruption and media skills among other areas.
The current programme will conclude in May 2013.
This is the second squad of players attending the Sagicor HPC since its inauguration two years ago.
The first squad of players included current West Indies opener Kieran Powell, fast bowler Shannon Gabriel and current West Indies Under-19 captain Kraigg Brathwaite.