Brisbane, Australia — West Indies Under-19s will enter the 2012 International Cricket Council’s Under-19 World Cup tournament on a high following two confidence-boosting victories in the official warm-up matches.
The Windies beat Australia and Namibia in the warm-ups earlier this week and will have their first taste of competition action against India on Sunday at the Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville. First ball is 9:30 am (Saturday – 7:30 pm Eastern Caribbean Time/6:30 pm Jamaica Time).
West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite was among the runs and other good batting performances came from vice captain John Campbell, Sunil Ambris and Anthony Alleyne. The bowling has been on the ball with big fast bowler Ronsford Beaton, left-arm seamer Jerome Jones and follow speedster Marquino Mindley in good form.
“I believe the squad is really confident, highly motivated and really looking to play some good cricket and bring back the World Cup home for the first time. Yes, I believe we can win, we just need to believe in ourselves and go out there, play as a team and to our full potential. We are capable,” skipper Brathwaite said.
“We have good players in all departments. We have an experienced batting line-up and a solid group of fast bowlers. Also, we have some very good allrounders who we can move up and down the order according to the state of the match.”
In the warm-up matches West Indies made 235 to beat the Aussies by 13 runs and went to town against Namibia, making 328 to win by 146 runs. The ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup will be played in Townsville, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast in Queensland from August 12 to 26.
West Indies placed third in the last World Cup in New Zealand two years ago. They have been drawn in Group C in this tournament, which also includes two-time winners India, Zimbabwe and Papua New Guinea.
“We expect to play good cricket and if we do, we expect to advance to the second round and beyond, but we will not underestimate the opponents. Cricket is a great game and you have to be at your best at all times no matter who you play against. We have to go out there and play every game hard,” Brathwaite said.
Brathwaite is the most experienced member of the team with nine Test matches under his belt. He is expected to open the batting with his left-handed partner Campbell. The other opener in the squad is Keiron Joseph, a small right-hander. The middle-order is strong with left-handers Alleyne and Akeal Hosein; stylish right-hander Kavem Hodge; as well as reserve wicket-keeper Ambris and first-choice keeper Seven Katwaroo.
The team includes two fast-bowling allrounders – the hard-hitting Kyle Mayers and the hardworking Justin Greaves. There are also three specialist quick bowlers – Mindley, left-armer Jones, and Beaton, the loose-limbed six-footer. The squad is rounded off with two specialist spinners – Amir Khan, who bowls leg-breaks and googlies; and the ambidextrous Derone Davis, who bowls left-arm orthodox.
“John Campbell, he will be great with the bat at the top order the order in his aggressive style and also bowls very handy off-spin. Kyle Mayers is very important in the middle order because he is a batsman who can hit the ball a long way and also bowls a very tidy medium pace,” Brathwaite said.
“Ronsford Beaton, he has pace and once he gets it right on those Australian pitches he will be a force to be reckoned with. Derone Davis, he is a livewire in the outfield and always gives 110 percent – sort of like a Dwayne Bravo. He can field extremely well, bowls a very tight left-arm spin and will be crucial in the middle order as well.”
Brathwaite added: “I firmly believe we are strong in both our batting and bowling, but above all we have good camaraderie among the players and we have great support staff. We have players who can win matches with bat and ball.”
Kraigg Brathwaite – Captain (Barbados)
John Campbell – Vice Captain (Jamaica)
Anthony Alleyne (Barbados)
Justin Greaves (Barbados)
Jerome Jones (Barbados)
Kyle Mayers (Barbados)
Kavem Hodge (Dominica/Windwards)
Ronsford Beaton (Guyana)
Amir Khan (Guyana)
Marquino Mindley (Jamaica)
Sunil Ambris – Wicket-keeper (St. Vincent/Windwards)
Derone Davis (Trinidad & Tobago)
Steven Katwaroo – Wicket-keeper (Trinidad & Tobago)
Akeal Hosein (Trinidad & Tobago)
Keiron Joseph (Trinidad & Tobago)