By Carlena Knight
Fast bowling legend and assistant/bowling coach for the U-19 West Indies team, Sir Curtly Ambrose, has commended Cricket West Indies (CWI) for the effort they are putting behind the youths.
Ambrose’s comments come just a few days after it was revealed that the team will play a series of warm-up matches against South Africa in preparation for the region’s hosting of the ICC Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup slated for January 14 to February 5.
According to Ambrose, these cricketers are the future, and it is a delight to see the difference in effort throughout the years by the regional cricket body.
“It’s a bit of a change because many years ago, just prior to a tournament, maybe a couple of weeks before a tournament they would gather the guys together for training together and then go into the tournament, which was never adequate preparation. So, I am quite happy to see Cricket West Indies (CWI) really investing in its youngsters. We have had a couple of camps before, we toured England, we are here again with another camp getting ready for the World Cup, so I am really, really happy to see that CWI is investing in its youngsters because they are the future, and we have to take care of them and get them to be the best possible cricketers that they can be,” Ambrose said.
West Indies will contest Group D of the tournament and will face competition from Australia, Scotland and Sri Lanka.
The semi-finals and final of the tournament will be played here at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium. The semis will be contested on February 1 and 2 with the finals scheduled for February 5.
With the promise of new upcoming talent, the concerns of what happens to these cricketers post- tournament was put to Ambrose.
He agreed that in the past, many of the U-19 players are left without any support or training which results in only a handful of them making it to the senior team.
This issue, Ambrose explained, is one that the coaching staff has looked at, and he revealed that they will be making a few recommendations to CWI to address it.
“Well, that is something that we as a coaching staff talk about a lot, and so we are going to recommend to the CWI that we don’t want to do what we did in the past you know, where plenty of guys come from the Under-19 set up where only a few of them have made it to international level, but between the ages of 19-23 we lose a lot of cricketers. So, we are trying to change that mind-set and after U-19, have these guys in some kind of program so as to get them into first class cricket so we don’t lose them. That is something that we are going to recommend, and something we are working towards because there is a lot of talent still around,” Ambrose added.
The Antiguan mentioned that the aim is to keep the players involved in cricket at the highest level even after the pending tournament.