LINCOLN, New Zealand – Batting star Kirstan Kallicharan, believes the Caribbean’s capture of three titles in 2016 was a huge filip for the region, and is convinced the current West Indies Under-19s can repeat their success at the ICC Youth World Cup bowling off here next weekend.
Kallicharan was part of the Young Windies squad, led by current Test batsman Shimron Hetmyer, which stunned pundits to capture the ICC title in Bangladesh two years ago.
West Indies men and women then swept the titles at the Twenty20 World Cup a few months later in India, to make the Caribbean the toast of the cricketing world.
“At that time it was very important for cricket in the West Indies, especially because in that time cricket in the West Indies was just going down,” Kallicharan said.
“Nobody wanted to support the West Indies, especially in the Caribbean itself. From the senior men to the women in the T20 formats, to the Under 19s I think we brought a lot of joy to the Caribbean people.
“I learned a lot on that tour, about how I wanted to be at my best, and wanting the West Indies to be like they were in the past.”
Kallicharan is part of a strong Young Windies squad which are expected to again challenge strongly in the January 13 to February 3 tournament.
The Windies will contest Group A alongside South Africa, Kenya and hosts New Zealand, and open the tournament with a clash against the Kiwis on Saturday.
The vice-captain of the 2016 squad and now one of the mainstays of the batting, Kallicharan said the unit were confident of a successful campaign.
“Watching the videos from that World Cup, watching the guys go out there, I can say it was a very good experience,” Kallicharan noted.
“For the guys on this team, I think that inspires them to want to do well for themselves and the West Indies. Most important is to enjoy it, but I think we can bring back the title again.”
Kallicharan had limited playing time in the last Youth World Cup but now sees himself as a mentor to the inexperienced players in the current squad.
“I was the youngest one in that Under 19 squad, so chatting to the older guys I learned a lot,” he explained.
“I also learned a lot from meeting new people from around the world and seeing how they play, not only on TV but live and getting to talk to them and learn from them. One main thing I learned was to stay humble.
“Now I try to share my experience. It helped me a lot then so I think I can help them a lot by talking to them, trying to bring them out of down days, trying to help them, uplift them spiritually and mentally can help them reach a long way.” – CMC