Cayman cricketers head to England

The Cayman Islands national senior men’s cricket team heads to England next week to compete in the World Cricket League Division 6 tournament. 

The tournament, staged in Essex from Sept. 7-14, is comprised of seven other teams from around the world in two groups, with Guernsey the top seed in Group A along with Fiji, Botswana and Suriname. 

Cayman is the top seed in Group B along with Norway, Saudi Arabia and Vanuatu. Chris Palmer has been retained as team captain and Troy Taylor as vice captain. 

The team combines a blend of youth and experience, including seasoned veteran Ryan Bovell and youngsters such as Sacha de Alwis and the Cato brothers Corey and Darren. 

A total of six changes have been made to the team, which competed in the WCL Division 5 tournament in Malaysia in 2014, but the nucleus has remained. 

Bovell is a right-hand batting all-rounder who provides stability to the middle order and acts as a mentor for the younger players. He is a former national team captain and very experienced. 

New Zealander Palmer is an inspirational captain. There was a lot of controversy when Palmer was appointed skipper because he is not a Caymanian, but he did so well in leading the side at a T20 tournament in Fort Lauderdale last year that there has been no dissent so far. 

Conroy Wright is another vital player. He is a right-arm fast bowler and low order batsman. He is one of the key bowlers the Cayman Islands will be depending on to get an early breakthrough. His low-order big hitting will be crucial in getting runs as the overs wind down. 

Darren Cato is one of the young talents who has come through the ranks of the excellent Under-19 program and is being developed on this tour. He is a stylish right-hand batsman, very fast between the wickets, and likes to bat long. 

Taylor is a right-arm fast bowler who is supremely fit and can bowl for long spells. Normally used as a first change bowler, Taylor keeps the pressure on with steady line and length, putting the ball in the right areas. 

Kervin Ebanks is a right-arm fast bowler who is a keen thinker of the game and works hard for every wicket. Together with his improved batting, the team will expect him to perform well as an all-rounder. 

Team manager Robert Cox said, “For this year’s competition, the team has refocused its objective of returning to WCL Division 5 by working hard on all aspects of their game and at the same time, developing and encouraging young talent.” 

He added that he is expecting this team to work hard for each other in this tournament. Training, which started months ago, has gone well and culminated in six practice matches against local opposition. 

The team is now going through final preparation and fine tuning, before leaving on Wednesday. 

Theo Cuffy, technical director of Cayman Cricket, said, “I’m very excited about this opportunity for the Cayman Islands team. From my observation, they have been training very hard and buying into the program implemented by coach Pearson Best. 

“I am 100 percent confident they will do well in the tournament and finish either one or two and get promoted.” 

Squad: Chris Palmer (captain), Troy Taylor (vice captain), Ramon Sealy, Ian Rotsey, Omar Willis, Darren Cato, Corey Cato, Neil Coley, Alessandro Morris, Sacha de Alwis, Ryan Bovell, Kervin Ebanks, Adrian Wright, Conroy Wright. Pearson Best and Franklin Hinds (coaches), Robert Cox (manager). 

Chris Palmer

Chris Palmer leads the Cayman side again.

Darren Cato

Darren Cato

Conroy Wright

Conroy Wright has improved his batting to go with his excellent bowling skills. – PHOTOS: RON SHILLINGFORD