By Zaheer Mohamed
Admirably led by Guyanese Shimron Hetmyer, the West Indies lifted their maiden U19 World Cup title when they defeated India by five wickets and three balls to spare at the Shere Bangla stadium, Bangladesh. Few teams can boast of beating India, Pakistan and the host nation on the sub-continent, but Hetmyer’s boys recovered well from their loss to England in their first game to bring joy to the Caribbean People.
Speaking with Kaieteur Sport, Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Tevin Imlach expressed delight at the victory. Hetmyer who plays for Young Warriors in Berbice said it’s a tremendous feeling being at the helm of the first team from the West Indies to win this title. “I am very happy to win the World Cup; this victory means a lot to the West Indian people and it should serve as an inspiration for the youths. I want to tell other young cricketers to work hard, remain disciplined and committed,” he said.
Hetmyer explained that the players executed well on the day which was mainly responsible for their success. “We stick to the basics and did what worked best for us. I knew we had the ability to win the final despite being placed at 77-5 at one stage. All we needed was a partnership and Keemo and Carty did it for us,” he said.
He pointed out that the players realised they had to work harder after the game against Zimbabwe and were hungry for success. Hetmyer hopes to take his success into the senior team and thanked his family and friends for their support.
Vice Captain Paul said he is delighted about winning the tournament. “I am really happy, words cannot really explain how I feel, it’s fantastic. I was confident we would have gone all the way and that was our utmost goal, we trained for it,” he posited.
Paul, who was born in Saxacalli but plays his cricket for Noitgedacht Sports Club in Wakenaam where he now resides, stated that they learned a lot from the game against England. “We went back to the drawing boards and realised our shot selection was a bit off so we had to ensure we kept our wickets intact while trying to score,” he stated.
When quizzed about the Mankad issue, Paul said they played within the rules. “We stick to the rules, it came down to just being focused, there were some support and critics as well but you have to learn to deal with it and move on, this helps to build me,” he informed.
Despite being placed at 77-5 at one stage, Paul was confident he could have done it. “I got out cheaply against Bangladesh and was in a bit of pressure situation so I assured the coaches and manager that it wouldn’t happen again, and I remembered that when I went out to bat in the final so I took it upon myself take the team home; Carty did well too,” he said.
Paul stated that the victory is for the West Indian people. “We have been going through a lot recently so I really wanted to win; I was a bit emotional since my family was watching.”
The all-rounder whose short term goal is to get into the Guyana senior team advises youths to put their trust in God and remain humble. He thanked his family and friends for their support.
Wicketkeeper Tevin Imlach who performed creditably said he was elated to see the West Indian People so happy. “When we arrived in Barbados and for us to see the people so happy is a plus for us. The guys in the team love cricket and are willing to give their best, we help others throughout the competition and those little things can take you a far way,” he added.
When asked about him affecting the run out of opener Rishabh Pant to trigger India’s slide Imlach said, “I saw him leaving his crease the previous delivery so I decided to have a throw the next opportunity and it worked.”
The DCC player credited club mates Trevon Griffith and Christopher Barnwell for their assistance while on tour. “These guys helped me a lot, they were in touched with me most of the time and I appreciate their advice a lot,” he informed.
Imlach told Kaieteur Sport that while he is willing to share his knowledge with the youngsters at his club, he is looking forward to the national academy and thanked his family and members at DCC.
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