A confident Windies U-19 cricket team left
Barbados on Thursday evening bound for New Zealand to defend their International Cricket Council (ICC) U-19 World Cup title.
The team assembled in Barbados before flying
out to London and then making the final trek to New Zealand, where they will open the tournament with a day/night clash against hosts New Zealand at the Mount Maunganui, on January 13. A crowd of well wishers were on hand at the Grantley Adams International
airport to see the boys off.
T&T player Cephas Cooper said he was confident
that his team can defend the title they won in 2016 in Bangladesh. “We have a great bunch of guys assembled for this tournament and I can’t see why we cannot go on and defend the title. Everyone on this team has been working hard leading up to it and we are
looking forward to the challenge that will be before us in New Zealand.”
On a personal note, he wants to make a
major contribution with the bat. “I am looking to make a great contribution for my team. I will trying to do the basics well in the conditions in New Zealand and from there look to deliver. Everyone needs to be comfortable with their game and look to out into
practice what they have been working on for so long.”
The West Indies will battle South Africa
and Kenya in their group A with the top two teams moving into the quarter-finals, while the two bottom teams will shift across to the plate championships.
Sixteen teams will participate in the 2018 edition, including the five qualifiers – Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Canada, Afghanistan and Ireland.
The ten Test teams [prior to Afghanistan and Ireland’s elevation]
and Namibia, who finished as the best Associate team in the 2016 edition, had gained automatic qualification.
January 13 – vs New Zealand at Mount Maunganui.
January 17 – vs South Africa at Mount Maunganui.
January 20 – vs Kenya at Lincoln 3.