'Confident' WI Under-19 aim for title
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):
An upbeat West Indies Under-19 squad left here yesterday evening to con-test the ICC Under-19 World Cup, which bowls off in New Zealand in mid-January.
The entire squad left for London, before moving on to New Zealand for the January 15-30 tournament.
Manager Omar Khan told CMC Sports the squad was confident of doing well and said the ultimate priority was winning the competition.
"We leave for New Zealand a confident bunch and hopefully the boys can bring back the title to the Caribbean," said Khan, a former West Indies senior team manager.
"What we have tried to do is mould a professional unit and looking at the team you can tell that these youngsters want to play cricket at the highest level and see opportunities like this as very important."
Khan said he was impressed with the side's improvement, evidenced in their clean sweep of Canada in a recent two-match warm-up series in St Lucia.
"Prior to our camp and the warm-up matches against Canada, I had remarked that the boys needed to play more intelligent cricket and needed to read the game a lot better," Khan explained.
"What we have noticed is that in the two games against Canada, they were playing to the situation and assessing different points of the match very well. This is really good ahead of this major tournament."
On arrival in New Zealand, West Indies will play additional warm-up matches against the Northern Districts 'A' side team on January 6 and 8, fixtures Khan believe will further strengthen his charges' preparation, especially in a new climate.
"With such a big game against Pakistan being our first match, the guys need to acclimatise quickly and get things moving as fast as possible," the Trinidadian noted.
"This makes the warm-up matches very important and the players have been told that."
West Indies will play official warm-up matches against Australia on January 11 and Ireland on January 12, before facing Pakistan in the tournament opener in Palmerston North.
They will then clash with Bangladesh on January 17 and Papua New Guinea on January 19, to close out their Group D, preliminary round campaign.
SQUAD: André Creary (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nelson Bolan, Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Yannic Cariah, Akeem Dewar, Shane Dowrich, Nicholson Gordon, Trevon Griffiths, Jason Holder, Keon Joseph, Evin Lewis, Yannick Ottley, Jomel Warrican.