CWI coos over ‘balanced’ squad, as West Indies team announced for U-19 Cricket World Cup

Seventeen-year-old left-handed middle-order batsman Ackeem Auguste will lead the West Indies Rising Stars team into the 2022 ICC Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup tournament, which will be co-hosted by Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana.

Auguste was given the distinction on Friday by the Cricket West Indies (CWI) youth team selection panel, as the CWI named its 15-member squad and five reserves for the tournament. All-rounder Giovonte Depeiza was named as vice-captain.

Photo: West Indies Rising Stars captain Ackeem Auguste (right) and vice-captain Giovonte Depeiza.
(via CWI Media)

“It is a special honour to be named to captain the West Indies team,” Auguste told the CWI Media. “To represent the people of our region is a special privilege and it’s a really exciting time for me and my team-mates and we know this is a great opportunity on the international stage. 

“We had the tour of England earlier this year and that was a good experience for all of us. I learned a lot about leadership on that tour and I would say I have grown since then. We have worked hard to reach this stage and we are ready ahead of the World Cup.”

The West Indies Rising Stars U19s are drawn in Group D alongside Australia, Scotland and Sri Lanka for the 16-team tournament, which runs from 14 January to 5 February. Only the group winner remains in contention for the World Cup trophy, as they advance directly to the semifinal round.

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Auguste and Depeiza were also at the helm during the team’s six-match Youth One-Day International Series in England in September while the players are coming off a high performance camp at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua.

Photo: West Indies U-19 captain Ackeem Auguste bats during the 3rd One Day International against the England U-19 team at The County Ground in Beckenham, England on 8 September 2021.
(Copyright James Chance/Getty Images)

Lead youth team selector Robert Haynes suggested that West Indies cricket fans should look forward to the upcoming competition.

“Overall, the selectors are very pleased with what we have been seeing from these players and we expect some very exciting cricket in the World Cup,” said Haynes. “The batting is solid. Our concern coming out of the tour of England was the middle-order, but we saw some really good performances in the camp and some very good partnerships. 

“The bowling is very good, and we think we have the right combination of spinners and fast bowlers. This is a balanced squad and the players are very excited. It is now for these youngsters to go out and put on display what they learned in the camps which were organised for their benefit.”

Head coach Floyd Reifer said the versatility of the Rising Stars should prove to be an asset going forward.

Photo: West Indies under-19 players enjoy some success during a tour of England in 2021.
(via CWI Media)

“Coming out of the last camp in Antigua, we have seen a lot of improvement and development in the players, and we came up with a very good squad,” said Reifer. “I’m confident that we have a well-balanced team going into the World Cup, and we have the team to do very well in the tournament. We have a lot of talented players and what we are working on is the tactical side of our preparations. 

“We have batsman who can bowl well and bowlers who can bat as well, so we have a good balance.”

West Indies Rising Stars squad: Ackeem Auguste (captain), Giovonte Depeiza (vice-captain), Onaje Amory, Teddy Bishop, Carlon Bowen-Tuckett, Jaden Carmichael, McKenny Clarke, Rivaldo Clarke, Jordan Johnson, Johann Layne, Anderson Mahase, Matthew Nandu, Shaqkere Parris, Shiva Sankar, Isai Thorne.

Reserves: Anderson Amurdan, Nathan Edward, Andel Gordon, Vasant Singh, Kevin Wickham.

Photo: West Indies Rising Stars prepare for friendly action against the Australia Under-19 Team.
(Copyright CWI Media)

ICC U-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup groupings:

Group A – Bangladesh, England, Canada, United Arab Emirates

Group B – India, Ireland, South Africa, Uganda

Group C – Afghanistan, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Zimbabwe

Group D – Australia, Scotland, Sri Lanka, West Indies

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