Former Under-19 World Cup star Keacy Carty says he has put his exploits for Young West Indies behind him and his now focussed entirely on scoring heavily, and forcing his way into the senior West Indies unit.
The 21-year-old collected his second first-class hundred to set the foundation for a 34-run victory for Leeward Islands Hurricanes over Barbados Pride at 3W’s Oval, UWI Cave Hill, in the first round of matches which ended last Sunday in the West Indies Championship.
He was named Player-of-the-Match, after he marked the start of the new season in style with a resolute 114 on the opening day of the day/night contest against the Pride.
Carty shot to prominence at the 2016 ICC Youth World Cup in Bangladesh, when he stroked a stylish half-century in the Final to anchor the Windies Under-19s to their first title, an innings that similarly earned him the Player-of-the-Match award.
“Every day, I try to get better and better. I consider that Under-19 experience history. I don’t think about it anymore,” he said.
“It was a good performance, but I am trying now to make the senior Windies team, so what I do from here onwards is what really matters.”
Carty hails from the Dutch island of St. Maarten, where there is not a huge cricket culture, but he said that the CWI Professional Cricket League set-up for the Hurricanes in St. Kitts has been of great benefit to him in maturing and setting his sights on senior colours.
“In the off-season, we have to come back to St. Kitts to train with the franchise team,” he said.
“You may get two months off and you return to start training for the season, so I am currently based in St. Kitts with the rest of the players and that’s where I have been doing most of my training.
“Coming into the Hurricanes set up, playing alongside people like Alzarri Joseph, who I have been around since Under-17s and I know what he is capable of doing, Rahkeem Cornwall, Devon Thomas, Montcin Hodge and all of the guys, it’s just been about asking a lot of questions of the senior players and the support staff, and trying to get experience to elevate your game as quickly as possible.”
During last weekend’s Championship contest, Carty defied a blow to the helmet to lead a revival of the Hurricanes, after they chose to bat and slumped to 65 for four in their first innings.
Hurricanes recovered to reach 252, gaining a narrow first innings lead of four, but they were bowled out for just 165 in their second innings, leaving the Pride to chase 170 for victory.
Off-spinner Terrance Warde and Windies fast bowler Joseph responded to the challenge, sharing seven wickets to bowl the Hurricanes to an unlikely victory, their second straight against this opponent in the corresponding fixture.
“I am very happy to start the season this way, but I am also happy that the Hurricanes got off to a good start with a win against the Pride,” Carty said.
“Hopefully, we can carry this good form into the next match against the Guyana Jaguars and into the break for the Christmas/New Year’s holidays, recuperate and get back at it again in January.
“It was an all-round team performance. There was not one player that made the team, it was everybody – the batsmen, the bowlers, the fielders, the captaincy, the coaching, the management staff.”
He added: “The bowlers have always been doing the job for the team. It’s now time for the batsmen to step up and we should be good from there. Most of the games we have won, the bowlers normally win for us. We have to hand it to them, so the batters will just have to step up.”
Hurricanes hosts four-time reigning champions Guyana Jaguars in Antigua, in the second round bowling off Thursday.