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15 February 201618:07

Young kids have shown awareness: Bishop

Former pace ace lauds junior champions, says abundant talent in the Caribbean needs to be harnessed

Young kids have shown awareness: Bishop - Cricket News

While the junior team has brought laurels, the senior West Indian team is currently in disarray, but Bishop was confident of things working out come the World Twenty20 in India in March.

Ian Bishop smiles very little, so when he says, “I am really happy”, you have to take it at face value. The former West Indian fast bowler said the Under-19 team exceeded his expectations by beating India by five wickets in the final of the ICC Under-19 World Cup at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Sunday (February 14).

“The last week has to be one of the best (in my commentary career). I have seen the 2004 Champions Trophy win and the 2012 World T20 win, and this is right up there,” Bishop said soon after the match. “But there is something different in this. You have seen young kids mature and show a great deal of awareness.

“It makes me optimistic about the future of West Indies cricket. I am really happy, to be honest,” he actually laughed.

Apart from various things falling in place, the manner in which Alzarri Joseph and Chemar Holder bowled in the three knockout games played a significant role in West Indies lifting the trophy for the first time in 11 tries.

While Joseph finished as the tournament’s fifth-highest wicket-taker with 13 scalps including three in the final, Holder joined the team only two days before the quarterfinal against Pakistan as replacement for the injured Obed McCoy.

In three games, the two had combined analyses of 54-6-182-7, four of those wickets coming in the final.

“I don’t know if West Indies would have won the tournament without the acquisition of Chemar Holder to partner Joseph,” Bishop shared. “If it is Joseph alone, you feel a sense of release at the other end. But once they realise that Holder was offering nothing for release, it became that (much more) difficult in the first 10-12 overs. And the other guys fed off that. It was one of the key points.”

That West Indies made it to the quarterfinal was because of the Keemo Paul Mankading incident in the do-or-die clash against Zimbabwe to seal a two-run win. Bishop felt that the incident “galvanised” the team.

That West Indies won the tournament on the back of only three preparatory camps and one bilateral series against Bangladesh in early January did not surprise Bishop.

“That’s not the ideal preparation and should not serve as the template going into the next World Cup. It is definitely a shortcoming,” he said. “But what it says is there is definitely tremendous amount of talent in the Caribbean. People are talking about Caribbean cricket blah blah. We don’t have the volume of bowlers and batsmen like in the past, but we have enough talent and these guys have proved that it needs to be harnessed.”

The team included many players from smaller islands. Asked if the future of West Indian cricket lay in players coming through from non-traditional centres, Bishop saw the larger picture.

“I am not a visionary to that extent. It’s good for St Martin to have Keacy Carty (man of the final) do what he did. He hasn’t had a great tournament, but he came good on the big stage (scoring an unbeaten 52 in a tense chase of 146),” he said. “It shouldn’t be isolated to any set of islands. Every island has its set of infrastructure and we should develop them and get the system in place.”

Despite the success, Bishop was cautious while predicting the future of these cricketers. “Too early. You still have to see what works out best for the team and how many of them are ready and capable to go to the next level,” he said. “I would say Alzarri Joseph is ready, but I don’t know how many else are ready right now.”

While the junior team has brought laurels, the senior West Indian team is currently in disarray, but Bishop was confident of things working out come the World Twenty20 in India in March.

“The senior team has to look after themselves. That they are going to the World T20 is a good sign. They should put all the squabbles out of their mind and think why they started playing this game — for the joy of it,” he said. “I won’t advocate them to go and play for free, as it’s their job. We all love our job, and hope to get paid for it. But marry that with the unbridled love for the game we have. I think West Indies have a super T20 squad and they will do a good job.”