By E. Glenford Prescott
St. Vincent and the Grenadines and West Indies fastbowler Kesrick Williams is expected to be afforded more opportunities to don the maroon colours when the regional team host Pakistan in a hastily-arranged tour.
Reports say the West Indies and Pakistan Cricket Boards have agreed to play three Tests, three One-Day-Internationals and two Twenty20 matches in the Caribbean from March 27 to May 15.
But Williams, who made his international T20 debut against the same opponents last September in Abu Dhabi, will not get a chance to play in front of his home fans as the series is scheduled to start in Trinidad and Tobago and end in Dominica.
Despite playing just nine first-class games and six List A matches in his career, the last of which came in 2014, Williams emerged as a consistent threat in this year’s Caribbean Premier League, playing for the champions Jamaica Tallawahs.
Reports indicate that Williams, who will be 27 on Jan. 17, was a bargain after being drafted in the 13th round for a price of just $5,000 before going on to finish third overall with 17 wickets in the competition behind only Sohail Tanvir and Dwayne Bravo.
On his international debut, Williams took 2/15 in his four overs against Pakistan.
He was later snapped up by the Darren Sammy-led Rajshahi Kings in the BPL, where he led the team to the finals of the competition, which they lost.
The Twenty20 matches for the Pakistan tour are scheduled for TT; the three ODIs in Guyana, then the teams will then travel to Jamaica, Barbados and Dominica for each of the Test matches, a release from the WICB indicate.
SVG have been starved of international mataches over the last few years while neighbouring Dominica, country of West Indies vice-president Emmanuel Nanthan, have featured highly by hosting regional and international matches regularly. It is suggested in some quarters that SVG are paying the price for a rift between Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and WICB president Dave Cameron.
This saw Gonsalves, who made scathing public criticism of the West Indies president, spearheading a move to have Cameron ousted from his post — a move, which failed and appeared to have had negative consequences on SVG hosting of international fixtures.
The Arnos Vale Playing Field, which became a firstclass venue in 1972 when it hosted a match between Graeme Dowling’s touring New Zealanders and the Windwards, and gained international status nine years later in 1981, was the front-runner among the Windward Islands as a cricket venue. The ground also hosted its first test match in 1997 when West Indies took on Sri Lanka. However, the Darren Sammy Stadium in St. Lucia, Grenada’s National Cricket Stadium and Dominica’s Windsor Park Sports Stadium were all constructed after the Arnos Vale Playing Field with more modern requirements and have all left the SVG ground in the dust.
Despite spending millions of dollars to be part of the 2007 ICC World Cup, local administrators are said to have failed to cater for the future with no provision to host night matches and no electronic scoreboard available to facilitate certain requirements of matches. In addition, questions have been raised about the absence of a modern health facility to deal with serious injuries in an emergency.
With regards to the tour, WICB officials think the series will offer the home team an additional opportunity in the busy cricket year “to improve its ranking”.
According to one spokesperson, “Any series against Pakistan, with whom the West Indies first lock horns in 1958, always poses an interesting contest for the West Indies.”
Both teams met in a three-test series in Dubai last October, Pakistan won that series 2-1
Friday, March 31 1st T20 Queen’s Park Oval
Sunday, April 2 2nd T20 Queen’s Park Oval
Friday, April 7 1st ODI Guyana National Stadium
Sunday, April 9 2nd ODI Guyana National Stadium
Tuesday, April 11 3rd ODI Guyana National Stadium
Saturday, April 15 3-Day Match Trelawny Stadium
Friday, April 22 1st Test Sabina Park
Sunday, April 30 2nd Test Kensington Oval
Wednesday, May 10 3rd Test Windsor Park