DURBAN, South Africa, CMC – West Indies Under-19s head coach, Graeme West, says he has been impressed with the development of the batting group and believes hundreds by Kirstan Kallicharan and Keagan Simmons in the recent series against South Africa were testament to the ongoing improvement.
The Young Windies batsmen, led by Kallicharan and Simmons, performed admirably as the Caribbean side pulled off a 3-2 victory over the South Africans in the five-match Youth One-Day International series earlier this week in Durban.
Man-of-the-Series Bhaskar Yadram topped the Windies batting with 205 runs including two half-centuries while lower order batsman Alick Athanaze and Emmanuel Stewart also played key roles in games.
“I’m really pleased with the batters and the progress they’ve made in a short pace of time. We’ve not just leaned on one player, everyone has put in a performance,” West told CMC Sports.
“Kallicharan made a hundred in the first game [and] we were disappointed we didn’t get a win off the back of his excellent efforts and we probably would have [been disappointed] again had Simmons’s hundred gone unrewarded.
“But the guys are learning and they had a little bit of time to adjust to the conditions [in South Africa] …we’re still making a few errors along the way but the batting unit is taking shape.”
Seventeen-year-old Kallicharan, one of the surviving members from the 2015 Youth World Cup-winning side, struck 101 from 106 deliveries in the opening game but was unable to prevent West Indies from a five-wicket defeat in Durban.
The left-handed Simmons’s century, however, came in a winning cause, as he carved out a measured unbeaten 107 to lay the foundation for a narrow two-run victory in the final match on Wednesday.
“Simmons was a little bit fortunate – he got dropped on nought in the fifth over but he certainly made the most of his bit of luck,” West noted.
“The second half of his innings was really impressive; he found the boundary quite regularly towards the end so it was a great performance from him.”
He continued: “Kallicharan’s innings in the first game was equally as impressive particularly since we’d lost early wickets and he got some support from the lower order but he hit the ball really, really cleanly.
“Unfortunately he picked up a little bit of a hamstring injury after the third game so he missed out [in the fifth game] but all the batters have contributed so [despite] not having him in the team we still impressed with the bat.”
West pointed out, however, that the bowling department still needed work, but was careful to note they had also come up against an excellent South African batting side.
“The bowling unit is still in its early stages. We’ve rotated the bowlers a little bit more than the batters to give everybody an opportunity and they’ve all put in at least one or two good spells and the three games we’ve won, they’ve not been one person taking all the wickets,” the Englishman stressed.
“It’s been people chipping in with a good spell here, a good spell there. We’ve got a good balanced attack – we’ve got lot of options with the spin and it just comes down to being a little bit more consistent.
“The South Africans batted very well in a couple of the games which made it difficult for our bowlers but again, it’s very much a part of their learning and everybody will benefit from the experience.”