West Indies batsman Darren Bravo has backed West Indies Under-19s to do very well in the upcoming ICC Under-19 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
After a week-long camp at the High Performance Centre in Barbados the young Windies arrived in UAE on Wednesday morning where they will have another camp at the Emirates Palace Ground in Abu Dhabi.
Bravo, who topped both the batting and bowling averages for the West Indies at the ICC Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia 2008, gave his full support to the class of 2014. Bravo scored 165 runs at an average of 55 and also took three wickets at an average of just seven with his swing bowling as West Indies played most of their matches in Kuala Lumpur.
“It’s an exciting time in anyone’s career to be a playing in an Under-19 World Cup. I totally enjoyed my time and I want to urge the West Indies team to pull out all the stops as they try to win the tournament,” Bravo said.
“I was in the nets recently with two of the players – Jeremy Solozano and Nicolas Pooran and they were very focussed ready for the big tournament.”
Remembering his time at that event, Bravo recalled: “We had a wonderful time in Malaysia. Our team was a strong one, but we didn’t manage to win the tournament. I remember the opening ceremony, where all the teams were present and where we got to meet a lot of our opponents and ‘talk cricket’ – I made some friends that day and we remain good friends still.”
Since then, Bravo has gone on to achieve big things at the senior level as well, posting the highest score by a West Indies batsman when following on in a Test match (218 v New Zealand in the first Test at Dunedin) late last year. He said the ICC U19 CWC helped prepare him for the big stage.
“It was a good eye-opener, and I was delighted to represent the West Indies for the first time. For most of my team-mates, it was the first time we were representing the people of our region,” Bravo said.
“So we got to understand how much it meant to the people and also what our responsibilities are. Significantly, we learned to enjoy the game and be good ambassadors,” added the left-hander who was a member of the West Indies team which won the World T20 back in 2012.
This year’s ICC Under-19 World Cup will be a 16-day tournament with 48 matches played across seven venues. The Windies have been drawn alongside South Africa, Zimbabwe and Canada in Group C. Their opening preliminary match is against the Proteas on Friday, February 14 at the Dubai International Stadium.
The second match is on Sunday, February 16 against Zimbabwe at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The third match is two days later against the Canadians at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium Nursery Ground 1.
Stressing on the importance of the tournament for young cricketers, Bravo said: “The facilities in Malaysia were really good, as they usually are at an ICC U19 CWC.
“That helped me and my team-mates then – the likes of Adrian Barath, Kieran Powell, Devon Thomas, Veerasammy Permaul and Nkrumah Bonner – who like myself have gone on to play for the West Indies senior team.
“We had a great team-spirit, and were able to have a really enjoyable time, playing some good cricket and also getting to see a bit of the host nation,” added the 24-year-old.