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High praise for HPC

West Indies coach Ottis Gibson (left) giving some tips during a workshop at the highly acclaimed Sagicor High Performance Centre.

PORT OF SPIAN – Chairman of the Sagicor High Performance Centre, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, has already sung the praises of the work being done at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus-located facility, as has West Indies players like opening batsman Kieran Powell.

Now three more regional players have added their voices to the growing list of those who have identified the centre as proving pivotal in the improvements to their games.†Trinidad and Tobago’s Marlon Barclay, Yannic Cariah and Kjorn Ottley all entered the Sagicor High Performance Centre eager for knowledge and after a few months, the trio are already seeing improvements in their games.†

For Barclay, the HPC was seen as a stepping stone to bigger and better performances and hopefully, a call-up to the West Indies team in the future, while Ottley is trying to break into the T&T first-class team next year.†

Ottley has so far represented the Combined Campuses and Colleges in the regional four-day competition and with his studies over, he is now aiming to get a T&T cap.†

Cariah, who played four first-class matches for T&T in 2011 taking 13 wickets with a strike rate of 37.3, will be trying to regain his place on the national side in 2013 after playing just one match for T&T in 2012.†

Of the previous batch of HPC graduates, Powell and T&T fast bowler Shannon Gabriel have both gone on to play Test cricket for the regional side, while wicketkeeper Devon Thomas from Antigua has been used in the West Indies limited overs team.†

Queen’s Park Cricket Club batsman Barclay said that being part of the HPC has given him an idea of what it takes to make the transition to the higher level.†

“Going to the HPC…it gave me a lot of insight about what it is you need to do to reach that higher level and that is where I am aspiring to go, so it is a good experience and a good insight for me to know what I need to do to make that step up,” he said.†

So far the 23-year-old middle order batsman has played four first-class matches for T&T, all in 2012. He made his debut in March against Barbados at his home ground, Queen’s Park Oval.†The left-hander scored a half century in his second game for T&T against Guyana at the same venue and played out the rest of the season with T&T before he was selected to join the HPC.

He said: “There is always room for improvement and I just want to continue working hard and keep working on my game and continue to score runs wherever I play, whether it is for Queen’s Park or Trinidad and Tobago.”†

Of his own technique, Barclay said the HPC coaches did not want to make any drastic changes.†

“There were some minor changes, but not too much because I have my own style of batting and they did not want to change that too much. It was just a few minor things that have changed and I am continuing to work on (them).”†

Ottley has also seen some improvement in his fitness and his batting and said he was determined to take full advantage of the HPC programme.

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