West impressed by progress of WI Under-19s
ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC):
Head coach of the West Indies Under-19 team Graeme West has said there is an abundance of raw talent among the region’s young cricketers.
West made the comment following a training camp for Under-19 recruits, which took place over the Easter period at the West Indies High Performance Centre at the Coolidge Cricket Ground.
Three years ago, West guided the Windies to their first ever ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup title in Bangladesh.
“The players worked very hard and maintained high standards right the way through until the end,” the head coach told CWI Media.
“The success of each of the Under-19 teams with which I have worked over the last few years is dependent heavily on how quickly they can harness that talent and build and grow game understanding and the ability to repeat their skills at the highest level in pressure situations. It’s still early days, but there is some real ability within this group of players.”
He said he was especially impressed by the ball-striking skills and athleticism shown by the players throughout the camp.
However, West said a significant time was spent refining the players’ skills and developing their basics and fundamentals.
“The technical and physical programmes the players will take away are designed specifically to help them to improve in those areas that will strengthen their all-round game. We have also encouraged them to put more purpose into their training to make it more challenging and more beneficial to their development.
“We spent the second half of the camp on game awareness and game understanding. It was also great to expose the players to the expertise available from former West Indies fast bowler Kenny Benjamin and Windward Islands Volcanoes head coach Andre Coley as well as the professionals responsible for the physical, mental, and high-performance areas that were covered,” West said.
“We also focused on reinforcement and getting the players to do more thinking for themselves, putting them in match situations and getting them to prepare and plan for those situations. They also had the chance to receive feedback while working through different scenarios with the opportunity to reflect on where they had done well and how they could improve next time. All of this will be of great benefit for their long-term professional cricket aspirations.”
In addition to the training camps, West said that during the last three months, players had been working through their individual programmes in their home countries.
This will continue from May through to July before applying the development to competition in the West Indies Under-19 Championships in August and then the final build-up to the Under-19s World Cup.