CWI President’s XI to play England in 4-day fixture from tomorrow

Head Coach Rayon Griffith has underscored the importance of the four-day Cricket West Indies (CWI) President’s XI match against England, stressing the fixture presented yet another opportunity for players to impress Test selectors.
A squad, led by resurgent Test gloveman Shane Dowrich, will take on England at Coolidge Cricket Ground, Antigua from March 1-4, in the build-up to the three-Test series which bowls off on March 8.
Griffith said he expected all players to take the fixture seriously, especially since many of them were already on the radar of West Indies selectors.
“It’s a practice game, but [because] we know it’s a practice game, we’re not just going to go out there to [let it] just be a practice game,” said the Guyanese.
“I think the guys are looking to make the West Indies team, they want to get performances out of the game and you have some of the players who are developing. So, we’re looking to bring our best when that day comes.”
He continued: “We sat down and discussed before practice [on Friday] just to make them clear, to give them clarity so that when they come to the nets [they can assess] how they perform.
“We want to take this very seriously and they must be ready [for this game]. They have their goals they really want to achieve, so that’s the most important thing and what the focus is about – starting from the small steps.”
The squad was chosen following the opening two rounds of the First-Class championship, and represents several of the best performers who failed to make the Test squad.
Leeward Islands Hurricanes batsman Devon Thomas, who pummelled a hundred and two half-centuries in three innings, is part of the unit along with left-arm fast bowling all-rounder, Raymon Reifer, who averaged 46 with the bat and snatched a six-wicket haul in his appearances for Barbados Pride. Griffith said it was important all players tried to replicate their recent form.
“When I look back at the four-day I thought the guys that were selected in this President’s XI team, I think you had a lot of performances from them,” he pointed out. “Raymon Reifer, I think he was outstanding and Devon Thomas, I thought he had a good run as well. Sherman Lewis who is back, he showed some good impressive spells and you even had Bryan Charles from Trinidad who I thought bowled well.
“It’s a good mixture of experience and the youth. Guys like Reifs (Reifer), the captain Dowrich, Devon Thomas – they’ve been around the block a little while and they understand what they have to do to help these younger players … so they can bring the performances when that time comes.”
England, who underwent a full training session Saturday, will be looking to maximise the outing, as it represents their only warm-up game ahead of the first Test at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium.
And Griffith believes this will provide the ultimate test of character for the President’s XI. “They have to take responsibility. You don’t want to put everything down their throats,” he noted.
“You want to see them learn, you want to see them play situations and when the situation comes and it gets tough, that is where we want to tick those boxes.”
Squad – Shane Dowrich (Captain); Raymon Reifer (Vice Captain); Colin Archibald; Alick Athanaze; Keacy Carty; Bryan Charles; Shermon Lewis; Preston McSween; Shayne Moseley; Jeremy Solozano; Shamar Springer and Devon Thomas. (CMC)