PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Young West Indies opener, Keagan Simmons, says the players vying for selection for next year’s Youth World Cup, have been gradually lifting their training intensity.
The group have been training for most of the year, undergoing camps and overseas tours, in preparation to defend the title the region captured last year in Bangladesh.
With the Christmas holidays approaching, the players are expected to be involved in yet another training camp, which Simmons has identified as “crucial.”
“So far it has been good. All the guys have been working in their prospective territories to get better and the December camp is going be very crucial as a team going into the World Cup,” the 18-year-old said.
“Before that though, everyone knows how much work they have to put in.”
The Under-19s are coming off a recent similar camp in Grenada which wrapped up last weekend, where they were once again put through the rigours as they fine-tuned their preparations for the January 13 to February 3 tournament in New Zealand. Simmons highlighted the intensity of the camp but said players understood the value of the quality preparation.
“Everyone knows how important this camp was as the World Cup gets close. There is a lot of pressure on all the players to perform,” he pointed out.
Trinidadian Simmons has been a key member of the set-up over the last year, featuring prominently on the tours of South Africa and Zimbabwe last July.
The left-hander struck an unbeaten hundred against South Africa U19s in Durban, to help the Caribbean side clinch that series 3-2.
However, Simmons said there were areas of improvement to his game which were highlighted during the recent camp.
“I think for the time I was in the middle I was batting well. I found the gaps frequently so the runs was coming,” he explained.
“What was disappointing was the way I got dismissed – playing very early on a slow track. Once I grow in that regard I would score a lot more runs.”
West Indies Under-19s have been installed in Group of A of the Youth World Cup alongside Kenya, South Africa and the hosts.