By E. Glenford Prescott
Talented St. Vincent and the Grenadines U19 captain Gidron Pope has been named by the West Indies Cricket Board in a 16-member West Indies under-19 squad which will take part in a two-week training camp at the West Indies High Performance Centre in Barbados.
The camp will run from March 29 to April 11.
Pope, a left-handed batsman who bowls offspin, will be trying to earn a place for the team to the 2016 ICC Youth World Cup in Bangladesh.
Pope is among five players in the squad who did not participate in the Nagico Super50 tournament in January in Trinidad and Tobago.
The others are Kofi James, Kirstan Kallicharran, Ryan Johns and Dominic Drakes.
The News Spartans player is one of two Windward Islands players to be named in the squad with Dominica’s all-rounder Ryan John, being the other.
Four of the players called are from the Leewards (Kacey Carty, Jaeel Clarke, James, and Alzarri Joseph) while three are from Barbados (Drakes, Nicholas Kirton, and Shamar Springer). Trinidad & Tobago are represented through Amir Jangoo, Kallicharran and Akil Seetal.
Guyana’s flag bearers are Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul.
Pope warmed up for the camp last weekend with an impressive 67 for News Spartans against Lime Radcliffe at the main Arnos Vale Playing Field.
He will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Kenroy Martin, Stephen John, Kenroy Peters, Darnley Grant, Delorn Johnson, Sunil Ambris and Ray Jordan as Vincentian players who have represented the West Indies in the ICC U19 World Cup.
The West Indies Cricket Board in its release has indicated that the 16 at the camp do not represent the final squad, as players will have the chance to impress during the regional under-19 tournament from July 20 to August 16 this year in Jamaica.
The West Indies best placing at the ICC Under-19 (Youth) World Cup came in 2004 when they finished runners-up to Pakistan.
The Young West Indians placed third in the inaugural competition in 1988 and third again in 2010. In the last two editions (2012 and 2014) the regional youngsters finished sixth.
South Africa are the defending champions after beating Pakistan in the final — their first ever World Cup trophy.
The West Indies Under-19 squad:
Kacey Carty batsman, Leewards
Jaeel Clarke, wicketkeeper/batsman, Leewards
Dominic Drakes, fast bowler, Barbados
Michael Frew, off-spinner/batsman, Jamaica
Shimron Hetmyer, batsman, Guyana
Kofi James, batsman, Leewards
Amir Jangoo, batsman/wicketkeeper, Trinidad & Tobago
Ryan John, all-rounder, Windwards
Alzarri Joseph, fast bowler, Leewards
Kirstan Kallicharran, batsman/leg-spinner, Trinidad & Tobago
Nicholas Kirton, batsman/off-spinner, Barbados
Keemo Paul, all-rounder, Guyana
Gidron Pope, batsman/off-spinner, Windwards
Akil Seetal, fast bowler, Trinidad & Tobago
Odean Smith, fast bowler, Jamaica
Shamar Springer, all-rounder, Barbados