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Mikyle Louis
Mikyle Louis

We have had three matches in the West Indies Regional First Class competition, and as always, some new exciting talent from the West Indies has emerged. Here are five players who you may never have heard of but could be on their way to being the West Indies’ next biggest star:

Mikyle Louis (Leeward Islands)

Louis is an opening batter from St. Kitts. He made his first-class debut this season for the Leeward Islands Hurricanes and has made a significant impression. Louis is 23 years old and is over six feet tall. He started his red ball career with a resilient 102-ball 55 against the West Indies Academy but displayed another attribute one game later. Louis became just the 11th batter in the tournament’s 58-year history to score hundreds in each innings of a Regional 4-Day game with scores of 113 and 130 against defending champions Guyana. In his 243 runs scored, Louis hit ten 6s, utilizing his long levers and broad reach to punish the Guyanese. If he can continue this form in the remaining matches, staying up top of the most runs leaderboard, he will no doubt put some pressure on the inexperienced West Indies top order that just went to Australia.

Kevin Wickham (Barbados)

Wickham is a promising talent who you may have heard of. He has participated in the Caribbean Premier League and the 2022 West Indies Under-19 World Cup. I decided to highlight him because he matured a lot more in 2024, a year that could be noteworthy in his journey. If you aren’t aware of his expedition so far, Wickham is from Barbados and is 20 years old. His name first came to prominence at the 2020 Under-19 World Cup, which he started as a reserve but had a century to his name by the end of the tournament. He made his first-class debut in 2023 and, in 11 matches to date, averages 42 with three hundreds and two-half centuries. Wickham has stood out this season in a starstudded Barbados Pride team with several players who have played international cricket, including test captain Kraigg Brathwaite. His fearlessness and will to take on the game regardless of conditions has always been a unique trait but he has shown an enhanced ability this season to occupy the crease, which has taken his game to another level. He started the tournament with 139 against Combined Campuses and Colleges and followed it up with scores of 74 and 63, respectively. Keep an eye on this young phenomenon’s journey as his quest for international cricket continues.

Ashmead Nedd (West Indies Academy)

Ashmead Nedd is another West Indies Under-19 World Cup squad graduate who competed in both the 2018 and 2020 tournaments. He is a left-arm spinner from Demerara, Guyana, who, even though he is 23, has played 40 professional matches, making his List A debut in 2019.  His prime format has been the 50-over format, where Nedd has taken 32 wickets in 22 games at an impressive average of 22.5 and an economy of less than four runs per over. However, this season, he has taken meaningful steps into establishing himself in the red ball format. Nedd represents the West Indies Academy in this tournament simply because of Guyana's vast depth regarding left-arm spinners. (Gudakesh Motie and Versammy Permaul) He has started the season well with 17 wickets in the first three matches and took his maiden first-class five-wicket haul against Trinidad & Tobago with 6/78. He followed it up days later with 5/97 against Guyana. A fruitful season in the wickets column could see him work his way into the Guyana and West Indies ‘A’ team.

Jeremiah Louis (Leeward Islands)

Another Louis from the Leeward Islands is one to watch. Quite opposite to Mikyle, Jeremiah is a seamer from St. Kitts playing in his 10th first-class season. His main attributes are the ability to swing the new ball and hit a good length. While he is seasoned, I opted to include the 27-year-old in this list because this could be the year he finally makes the leap. Louis has been around the West Indies set up a couple of times representing the President’s XI in 2022. Louis also traveled to the UK last year and represented Ashington in the Dukes North East Premier League Premier Division. The major reason why he has never been able to break through is due to a lack of consistency. He scalped 41 FC wickets in 2018 but has never registered more than 15 wickets in any first-class season since. However, things have changed in 2024. In the first three games, Louis has been unstoppable. He has destroyed batting lineups with the new ball and has taken 17 wickets at  15 runs a piece, averaging a wicket every 29 deliveries, one of the best strike rates in the competition. With sustained consistency, could this finally be the year he breaks into the West Indies international setup?

Zishan Motara (Combined Campuses & Colleges)

You definitely have never heard of this name. Zishan Motara is a 17-year-old, 6”’3 leg spinner from Barbados. He is the most inexperienced pick on this list but the one I am undoubtedly most excited about. He narrowly missed out on a place in the final squad for the recently concluded 2024 Under-19 World Cup but was awarded a place in the Combined Campuses and Colleges team because of his uniqueness. He stands out because of his height and flight, which generates extra bounce that is problematic for opposition batters. This FC season is Motara’s first professional experience, but it did not seem that way when he bowled against Jamaica a couple of weeks ago. In his second professional game, Motara took 7/108 against the Jamaicans, bowling 31.2 overs. He became the first bowler in four seasons of the Championship to take seven or more wickets. If he can achieve this at age 17 without experience, we all have something to be excited about.


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