ST JOHN’S, Antigua, (CMC) – Windward Islands Volcanoes will be taking nothing for granted when they come up against minnows West Indies Under-19s, in the first game of a doubleheader that opens the Antigua leg of the Regional Super50 here yesterday.
Volcanoes, boasting the likes of two-time Twenty20 World Cup-winning captain Darren Sammy and the current West Indies pair of Johnson Charles and Andre Fletcher, enter the contest at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium as the definite favourites but captain Liam Sebastien said Tuesday they would not be underestimating the young side.
“We will be looking to start with a win. In any competition it is always important to start off good. The guys are obviously raring to go and the guys are focused on that mission of winning the first game which obviously would set the tone,” Sebastien said.
“Also, they are not a team we are going to underestimate. They’ve been preparing for a while, they’ve had a few camps together and it’s something we’re mindful of. We’re not going into the game complacent saying we’ve won the game already
We know we still have to go out and play a good game of cricket. It is something we are aware of. We are aware of them in terms of what they can bring because we will be going into the game as favourites and favourites don’t always win.”
Antigua will play host to Zone A which also comprises title-holders Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, Leeward Islands Hurricanes and English County side, Kent Spitfires.
Today’s feature game set for the Coolidge Cricket Ground will see Kent clashing with Hurricanes in a day/night affair.
But despite fixtures against the likes of Red Force and Kent, Sebastien believes the clash with the Windies Under-19s is the most critical one for Volcanoes.
“This could be one of the most important games of the group for us because this is our first game and it’s against the team everybody expects to be the minnows of the group so it’s something that’s going to be very important in terms of our performance as a group,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, Under-19s head coach Graeme West said his side were still building their confidence ahead of their first outing.
However, he said their practice match last Sunday had gone a long way in boosting the side’s belief, and he was now hoping to see signs of development as the squad used the tournament as preparation for next year’s Youth World Cup.
“We are building on what we did in [the camp in] Grenada in December,” the Englishman said.
‘There are some nerves in the group. We have some young guys and inexperienced players in terms of senior cricket so on reflection I think it was a good exercise on Sunday. A lot of them come away from it with a lot more belief that they can compete at the senior level.”
He continued: “I think what we are really looking for is the ability to make good decisions. For the bowlers, they are going to be under pressure. They are some very positive players they are going to be bowling against so it’s a little bit composure, a little bit setting the right fields for what they are trying to do.
“For the batters, certainly at the top of the order, it’s really a case of developing the belief that they can perform.”