Bringing facts and figures to the table would surely make for a meaningful debate in an effort to temper crazy opinions being expressed in some quarters about fast-tracking members of the champion West Indies Under-19 team into the senior side after the just concluded ICC Youth World Cup in Bangladesh.
Though it was a tedious exercise in researching all of the West Indies Youth players who played in Under-19 World Cups and then represented West Indies in either Tests, One-Day Internationals or Twenty20 Internationals, one can feel justified in knowing that instead of getting carried away with the fact that the West Indies won the title for the first time in the 11 Championships since the inception in 1988, there is telling information, which can help the cause of all and sundry.
Against the odds and viewed as no-hopers when they left the Caribbean, Shimron Hetmyer’s side included some names hardly identifiable to the average cricket fan. It was arguably not the strongest West Indies Under-19 team to play in Youth World Cups but they believed in themselves and showed lots of heart and spirit, especially after the controversial two-run win (remembered for the mankad by Keemo Paul at the ‘death’) against Zimbabwe in their last preliminary match.
Interestingly, the 2002 and 2006 teams each had eight players who went on to play at the international level although four of them from the 2006 side – Kieron Pollard, his fellow Trinidadians William Perkins (who was born in Barbados) and Jason Mohammed, and Windward Islander Andre Fletcher of Grenada, have never played in Tests.
Apart from the 2016 team, only Denesh Ramdin’s 2004 side had played in a Final, co-incidentally also in Bangladesh.
Just a little history: The inaugural Under-19 World Cup –– titled the Youth World Cup – was the brainchild of the Australian Board as part of the country’s bicentenary celebrations and was held at a number of picturesque venues in South Australia and Victoria. The then seven Test-playing countries plus an ICC Associates XI took part in a full round-robin format.
The next Tournament was held ten years later and the ICC announced that it was to be a biennial event henceforth.
The list below shows West Indies players who played in ICC Under-19 World Cups and went on to represent West Indies in either Test, One-Day or T20 International matches. The emphasis, however, is on those who have played Tests.
NB: There are unique cases of the following have played in two Under-19 World Cups and also representing West Indies at the highest level –– Marlon Samuels, Ryan Hinds (1998 and 2000); Narsingh Deonarine (2000 and 2002); Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul (2002 and 2004); and Kraigg Brathwaite (2010 and 2012).
1988 –– in Australia (Seven) –– Brian Lara (Tests: 131; debut 1990); Jimmy Adams (Tests: 54. debut 1992; Rajindra Dhanraj (Tests: 4; debut 1994); Robert Samuels (Tests: 6. debut 1996); Roland Holder (Tests: 11; debut 1997); Ridley Jacobs (Tests: 65; debut 1998); Nehemiah Perry (Tests: 4; debut 1999).
1998 –– in South Africa (Five) –– Ramnaresh Sarwan (Tests: 87; debut 2000); Marlon Samuels (Tests: 54; debut 2000; Ryan Hinds (Tests: 15; debut 2002); Sylvester Joseph (Tests: 5; debut 2004); Runako Morton (Tests: 15; debut 2005).
2000 –– in Sri Lanka (Seven). NB: Marlon Samuels and Ryan Hinds also played in the 1998 Tournament. Jermaine Lawson (Tests: 13; debut 2002); Narsingh Deonarine (Tests: 18; debut 2005); Brenton Parchment (Tests: 2; debut 2008); Sewnarine Chattergoon (Tests: 4; debut 2008); Kenroy Peters (Tests: 1; debut 2014).
2002 –– in New Zealand (Eight). NB: Narsingh Deonarine also played in the 2000 Tournament. Dwayne Bravo (Tests: 40; debut 2004); Donovan Pagon (Tests: 2; debut 2005); Darren Sammy (Tests: 38; debut 2007); Ravi Rampaul (Tests: 18; debut 2009); Lendl Simmons (Tests: 8; debut 2009); Gavin Tonge (Tests: 1; debut 2009); Shane Shillingford (Tests: 16; debut 2010).
2004 –– in Bangladesh (Six). NB: Ravi Rampaul and Lendl Simmons also played in the 2002 Tournament. Denesh Ramdin (Tests: 74; debut 2005); Xavier Marshall (Tests: 7; debut 2005); Kirk Edwards (Tests: 17; debut 2011); Assad Fudadin (Tests: 3; debut 2012).
2006 –– in Sri Lanka (Eight) NB: Of the eight, four players –– Kieron Pollard, William Perkins, Andre Fletcher and Jason Mohammed –– have represented West Indies in One-Day or T20 Internationals only. Nelon Pascal (Tests: 2; debut 2008); Kemar Roach (Tests: 37; debut 2009); Sunil Narine (Tests: 6; debut 2012); Leon Johnson (Tests: 4; debut 2014); Kieron Pollard (Tests: Nil; ODIs: 91; debut 2007); William Perkins (Tests: Nil; T20Is: 1; debut 2007); Andre Fletcher (Tests: Nil. ODIs: 18; debut 2008); Jason Mohammed (Tests: Nil. ODIs: 2; debut 2011).
2008 –– in Malaysia (Five) –– Adrian Barath (Tests: 15; debut 2009); Darren Bravo (Tests: 42; debut 2010); Kieran Powell (Tests: 21; debut 2011); Veerasammy Permaul (Tests: 6; debut 2012); Devon Thomas (Tests: Nil; ODIs: 21; debut 2009).
2010 – in New Zealand (Four) –– Kraigg Brathwaite (Tests: 27; debut 2011); Jermaine Blackwood (Tests: 15; debut 2014); Jason Holder (Tests: 13; debut 2014); Shane Dowrich (Tests: 2; debut 2015).
2012 –– in Australia (One) NB: Kraigg Brathwaite also played in the 2010 Tournament.
2014 –– in United Arab Emirates. NB: No players from that Tournament has played international cricket.
2016 –– in Bangladesh. NB: No players from that Tournament has played international cricket.
Opening a can of worms? It’s your guess!
Keith Holder is a veteran, award-winning freelance sports journalist, who has been covering local, regional and international cricket since 1980 as a writer and commentator. He has compiled statistics on the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Division 1 (now Elite) championship for three-and-a-half decades and is responsible for editing the BCA website (www.bcacricket.org.). Holder is also the host of the cricket Talk Show, Mid Wicket, on the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation 100.7 FM on Tuesday nights. Email: Keithfholder@gmail.com