Omari Banks, the Leeward Islands allrounder, has said the experience gained by playing county cricket for Somerset will be of assistance when he represents his team in the Caribbean T20, which begins on July 22 in Barbados. Banks was also part of the Champions League Twenty20 last year, the tournament the competing teams in the Caribbean T20 will be aiming to qualify for.
"Playing county cricket in England gave me a very good idea how to approach the game, what is expected, what is most important and how to apply that experience," Banks, who has been named vice-captain of Leewards, said. "Last year at the Champions League the atmosphere was amazing and it was a thrill to play against some of the biggest names in world cricket. There is a lot to be gained from doing well in the Caribbean T20."
The Leewards will be led by allrounder Wilden Cornwall and their team also includes batsman Runako Morton and seamers Gavin Tonge and Lionel Baker, both of whom have represented West Indies.
"We have a good team and we will be backing ourselves to do well. We will be playing for each other. Most of the guys have been playing together for a while now so we know and understand each other. Maybe you won't get as much bravado from us as you would from other teams, but inside our hearts we are confident we can go in and give a really good show," Banks said.
"We have a mixture of good young players and some players who have been around for a while and who have made good contributions to Leeward Islands cricket over the years. We just ended the Leeward Islands T20 tournament and now we are in camp, so we are hoping to get everything right for the Caribbean T20. We have some good batsmen in form and the bowlers are also looking quite sharp.
"We put our stuff down to our performances on the field. Twenty20 cricket is the kind of game that can change very, very quickly and we are fully aware of that. We won't be worried about a lot of the big talk coming from some of the other teams. We are going to go out and play our style of cricket and look to create momentum and capitalize on our opportunities."
Leewards are grouped with Canada, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago. They take on Jamaica in their first match on July 22 at the Kensington Oval.
Leeward Islands squad: Wilden Cornwall (captain), Omari Banks, Runako Morton, Jacques Taylor, Justin Athanaze, Kerry Mentore, Tonito Willett, Kelbert Walters, Shane Jeffers, Anthony Martin, Garvin Tonge, Lionel Baker, Kadeem Phillip, Javier Liburd; Percy Daniel (manager), John Archibald (coach).