WEST INDIES cricket received a huge boost when the region’s under-19 side won the World Cup in Mirpur.
The Caribbean outfit landed their maiden under-19 title with a five-wicket win over India.
Going into the final, India were the heavy favourites to lift their fourth title. On the day, Sarfaraz Khan scored 51 runs but didn’t find any support at the other end as India mustered 145 runs.
That meant India lost a youth one-day international (ODI) for the first time since their quarter-final exit of the same tournament in 2014.
In reply, West Indies suffered a few bumps but in the end, cruised past the finishing line thanks to a 69-run sixth wicket partnership between Keemo Paul (40) and Keacy Carty (52).
It is a perfect fillip for the senior West Indies team who challenge for the World T20 crown which gets under way in India next month.
The hope now from West Indies fans and administrators is that Guyana-born captain Shimron Hetmyer and some of his team can push on and make the step up and change the team’s fortunes of the senior team.
Since 2000, the Windies have only had four Test series wins against recognised opposition. However, the T20 squad did win the World Cup in 2012 under the leadership of Darren Sammy.
Jason Holder, the West Indies Test and ODI captain, praised the youth team after the match. “What a team! These guys showed the depth and balance of their side. Stuck together in tough times and now can celebrate this moment.#champs” he wrote on Twitter.
He added: “I’m a Proud West Indian today and we must CELEBRATE this wonderful achievement as these guys have done a lot for our region. #2016champions”.
West Indies winning the ICC Under-19 World Cup was described as the “best cricket news in years” by former England captain Michael Vaughan.
Sammy, added his own take on the team’s success, when he tweeted: “Congrats to Captain Hetmyer and his troops. Really proud of you guys #futurestars #ICCU19WC I just pray things are better when these#futurestars graduate to the #SeniorTeam”