Two female cricketers will be keeping a close eye on two major International Cricket Council (ICC) tournaments in the coming months. The two, Qiana Joseph and Zaida James, gained selection to the West Indies Women’s High Performance Programme (HPP).
The Saint Lucia National Cricket Association (SLNCA) has since congratulated both upon their selection.
Qiana was also selected to attend the West Indies Women’s Training camp in Antigua and Barbuda for the next three weeks. She is last year’s SLNCA reigning junior female cricketer.
At the camp she will be looking to impress and to regain selection to the Senior West Indies squad as the West Indies women prepare for the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Women’s World Cup Qualifiers due to take place in Sri Lanka in July.
At home, the two ladies were in training last month under the watchful eyes of national coaches Alton Crafton and Keith Charlery.
Qiana made the West Indies team at the tender age of 16 and went on to tour England as part of the ICC World Cup team where she made her debut against South Africa. In 2018 she was subsequently chosen on the ODI squad to play South Africa in the Caribbean and the ICC World T20 which was held in the Caribbean. She replaced the uncapped Sheneta Grimmond. Sheneta was ruled out of the tournament due to injury.
Qiana continues to be a force to be reckoned with on the local scene playing for her district team, Gros Islet and sub regionally in the Windward Islands tournaments.
She was dominant in the last edition of the Windward Islands tournament held in Saint Lucia in 2020. Qiana was adjudged the tournament’s MVP, its leading scorer and one of the leading wicket takers.
The preparation camp, overseen by High Performance Manager, Graeme West commenced on Sunday 10th January at Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG) and will run up until Monday 1st February. Also included in the camp are former West Indies fast bowler, Courtney Walsh – Head Coach; Walsh will have alongside him the following individuals: Robert Samuels – Assistant Coach; Corey Collymore – Assistant Coach; Ryan Austin – Assistant Coach; Steve Liburd – Assistant Coach and Samantha Lynch – Assistant Coach.
The 24 players include: Aaliyah Alleyne; Reniece Boyce; Shemaine Campbelle; Shamilia Connell; Britney Cooper; Deandra Dottin; Afy Fletcher; Cherry-Ann Fraser; Shabika Gajnabi; Sheneta Grimmond; Shawnisha Hector; Chinelle Henry; Qiana Joseph; Japhina Joseph; Kyshona Knight; Hayley Matthews; Natasha McLean; Anisa Mohammed; Chedean Nation; Karishma Ramharack; Kaysia Schultz; Shakera Selman; Steffi Soogrim and Stafanie Taylor.
Meanwhile, under-19 youth cricketer and student at the Entrepot Secondary School (ESS) young Zaida James came on the scene in 2018 at the age of 12 years when she made her debut in the Windward Islands tournament played in Saint Lucia. Zaida went on to create history as the youngest player ever when she was subsequently picked as an alternate for the Windward Islands under-19 team.
In 2020 again playing at home in the Windward Islands senior women’s tournament, Zaida had some outstanding performances including her maiden half century for Saint Lucia against Grenada at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground (DSCG); her medium pace bowling also helped to stymied the batting attack of many of the Windward Islands top batters.
Due to her consistent performances she was selected to be part of both the senior and Under-19 female Windward Islands teams and she was also selected as vice captain of the Windward Islands Under-19 team.
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travelling restrictions both Qiana and Zaida were unable to attend any of the tournaments scheduled for 2020. The SLNCA hope that the two young ambassadors will grab on to this opportunity with both hands and continue to make Saint Lucia proud.
Zaida, like most aspiring Under-19 cricketer in the Caribbean will be eying the ICC World Cup which was scheduled for January 2021, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic was rescheduled to December 2021 in Bangladesh.
Zaida is part of the Under 19 squad; their camp will be held later. At present she is working with Coach, Charlery re a training programme sent by CWI High Performance Centre manager, Graeme West.
The VOICE spoke to the SLNCA 1st Vice President Shaun Alcindor, on Zaida chances of making the West Indies final squad for the 2021 ICC World Cup.
“She is an excellent cricketer; she shows great temperament on the pitch. It would be a boon for Saint Lucia and the region if she makes the squad. Similar to when Qiana made the West Indies World Cup team in 2017, it will be part of the resurgence for Saint Lucia female cricket”.
According to Alcindor, “Zaida demonstrated in 2020 that she was one of the best if not the best in the sub region. She was selected vice-captain; Taylor Dickson from Grenada was selected ahead of her because she had been on the Windward Islands Under-19 team longer and not because of skill”.
The VOICE also spoke to national coach Alton Crafton about Qiana’s preparation before going over to Antigua and Barbuda.
“Major work went into her physical conditioning, this took the form of early morning training, beach session and gym work”.
“Four matches were also held to give Qiana the much needed match practice, she made a highest score of 65 in three out of the four matches played,” noted Crafton.
Crafton applauded the SLNCA for providing Qiana with a mental coach who ran a couple of sessions with her.