Coach looks back on Leeward Island triumph

St. Kitts National Cricket team after winning the 2016 Leeward Island Cricket Tournament
St. Kitts National Cricket team after winning the 2016 Leeward Island Cricket Tournament
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Basseterre, St. Kitts – The head coach of the St. Kitts National Cricket team has reflected on his team’s successful campaign at the recently concluded Leeward Island Cricket Tournament.

The St. Kitts National Cricket Team was successful in its defence of the title it won in 2016, winning four out the five games.

Coach Steve Liburd spoke to the Observer about the teams successes, indicating that he thought the team performed well, even with the loss to the Antiguan team.

“In that particular game,” he said, “we just did not get any momentum in our innings, but in all our other games, we executed our plan to perfection in terms of the batsmen batting majority of the overs, bowlers being aggressive and bowling their areas pretty well.”

Liburd credited the team’s preparation leading up to the competition for the reason for the team’s success: “The association started an elite programme last October where the U19 and senior team would train twice per week at the Len Harris Cricket academy, and when the National squad was selected, we had two and a half weeks to prepare for the tournament,” he said.

He stated that the practice sessions were properly structured, where they did a lot skills training, rotating the strike against spinners, death bowling and those sort of stuff geared toward one day cricket.

For the St. Kitts team, Terence Warde stood out to be voted the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament. Warde scored an impressive 380 runs from five innings, the second highest runs arrogate in the tournament and was only dismissed twice. He finished with an average of 190 runs per innings. Warde also collected 11 wickets, which tied for the most in the competition.

Liburd also sang praises of Warde’s performances and what might have led to the all-rounder’s superb returns.

“From a coach’s standpoint, it was pretty pleasing,” Liburd said. “I spoke to him before we left and you could see he was hungry for something big. In speaking with him, just the way he was talking, I could see he was looking for something good and the way he went out and applied himself in each inning was really pleasing.

“He only got out twice in the entire tournament. That was really good; he put a high value on his wicket, took his time and applied what we did in training in the session. Every inning he played he started slowly and picked up in the back end.”

The team also had to cope with the loss of four senior members from its triumph last in the form of Liburd, Shane Jeffers, Elsroy Powell and Tashmail Henry, who all have been in or around Leeward Island setup.

Liburd also spoke to how the team coped with the loss of those individuals.

“We lost four players from last year, but it is all about team and we had a structured plan in terms of what we are doing and everyone knew [his] role.”

Commenting on his performances in the tournament, Warde indicated he was proud of what he was able to achieve.

“I feel very proud of my recent performance in the Leeward Islands tournament because I was able to accomplished most of my set goals for that tournament and helped my national team secure back to back championships,” he said.

He also credited his focus for his showing. “The reason behind that performance was my desire and focus to make this year a pivotal step towards my future goals,” he said.

Warde was also hopeful to make the Leeward Islands setup later this year and, in the future, play for the West Indies Senior Team.

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