First-class batsman Chanderpaul Hemraj and exciting young fast bowler Ronsford Beaton have expressed joy at being selected by the West Indies Cricket Board as part of the 2013-2014 batch of young cricketers at the Sagicor High Performance Centre (HPC).
The players, drawn from the various territories of the region, will be enrolled for a one-year programme, which will start with encampment on June 1 at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus.
All the players selected are below the age of 25, and represent a wide cross-section of the young crop of regional players.
The 19-year-old Hemraj, a left-handed middle-order batsman, said it is indeed an honour to be part of the Sagicor HPC programme.
“I’m really happy to be part of this. This means everything to me,” Hemraj told Guyana Times Sport on Wednesday from his home in Strathavon, Cane Grove.
He added, “This is certainly an opportunity for me to better my cricket skills. I’m also looking forward to the other aspects of the programme, because this is not just about cricket, but shaping a well-rounded individual.”
The 20-year-old Beaton, a product of Reliance village on the Essequibo Coast, said he will seek to use the stint as an avenue to improve his game.
“It’s a big step in my cricketing career,” he declared. “As you know, Guyana does not have the kind of facilities and coaching that you would get at the HPC, so I’m really looking forward to it. This means a lot to me, because, as you can see, the HPC was able to produce quality players over the years, who went on to play Test cricket, like [Veerasammy] Permaul for example.”
Permaul, the West Indies left-arm spinner, is among four Guyanese who have passed through the HPC programme.
The others are fast bowler Brandon Bess, who was called up by the West Indies selectors to play a Test match against South Africa while being part of the programme in 2010, and openers Rajendra Chandrika and Trevon Griffith.
Beaton has appeared in 14 First-Class matches, five List A and five T20 games for Guyana, while Hemraj has three First-Class matches under his belt. No doubt, the pair would want to emulate Permaul and Bess and represent the West Indies at the highest level.
Apart from Hemraj and Beaton, the new batch of Sagicor HPC entrants includes Test discard Adrian Barath of Trinidad, fast bowler Quinton Boatswain of Montserrat, West Indies opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite of Barbados, opener John Campbell of Jamaica, wicketkeeper Shai Hope of Barbados, all-rounder Akeal Hosein of Trinidad, wicketkeeper Steven Katwaroo of Trinidad, all-rounder Kyle Mayers of Barbados, all-rounder Dalton Polius of St Lucia, all-rounder Raymon Reifer of Barbados, batsman Tyrone Theophile of Dominica and batsman Hayden Walsh Jr of Antigua.
Commenting on the announcement, Sagicor HPC head coach Graeme West said he was very excited about the prospects of transforming a new group of players.
The HPC programme has been broadened to focus more intensely on developing the mental prowess of players in addition to the standard rigorous training in skills development and fitness required for high-performance athletes.
The players will also benefit from specialised training in a number of other areas including their roles as ambassadors, and in personal development, anti-doping, anti-corruption and media skills. The 2013 programme will conclude in December this year.