ICC Under-19 World Cup 2012

'We encourage aggressive cricket' - West Indies coach

Fiesty fast bowlers, attacking batsmen, agile fielders - all in a happy group - make the West Indies team one of the stronger contenders in the tournament

George Binoy in Townsville

August 16, 2012

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Ronsford Beaton celebrates after dismissing Baba Aparajith, India v West Indies, Group C, ICC Under-19 World Cup 2012, Townsville, August 12, 2012
Ronsford Beaton has set the pace for the West Indies team, reaching speeds of up to 145 kph © ICC/Getty
Related Links
Players/Officials: Ronsford Beaton | Kraigg Brathwaite
Series/Tournaments: ICC Under-19 World Cup
Teams: West Indies

Ronsford Beaton will be dining at the Ribs and Rump on Townsville's trendy Palmer Street tonight. And he'll be doing so at his coach Roddy Estwick's expense, after underpinning West Indies' smashing victory against Zimbabwe, which helped them top Group C at the Under-19 World Cup.

Before the start of the match at Endeavour Park, Estwick had wagered Beaton that if he took 3 for 30 in ten overs, dinner would be on him. Beaton did not manage three wickets, but he did better, taking 1 for 9 in a nine-over spell that included four maidens. He was instrumental in keeping Zimbabwe to 148 for 8, a target West Indies chased comfortably.

"Unfortunately he [Beaton] didn't get up to it [3 for 30] but I'm still going to pay up. You've got to honour your bets," says Estwick with a laugh. "He's going to set me back a couple of hundred dollars. He's a big eater."

Beaton has been one of the best performers in a group of players who've made West Indies a force in this tournament, hitting speeds of around 145 kph. He and three other fast bowlers - Jerome Jones, Kyle Mayers and Justin Greaves - comprise a formidable pace attack; Mayers and Greaves are allrounders too, giving the batting line-up depth. Add to that a top order that includes a Test opener, and an athletic fielding unit, and West Indies are serious contenders to climb through the knock-out stages.

Their quicks have run in and attacked the batsmen, keeping India, Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe to less than 170. At the start of the tournament, West Indies had a target of keeping the opposition below 230, but after the performance against India, the management lowered that to 200. No one has got close. Their batsmen have played with freedom, too. The chases against Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe were over in the 12th and 36th over. They've been encouraged to do so, to play positively.

"We want to encourage them to play aggressive cricket, we want them to express themselves," says Estwick of his players' approach. "If you get out playing positive, yes you are disappointed, but you then look at the execution, not at the intent. We're not going to pull them down for being positive. We want people to play with a smile on their face and go out and enjoy it."

When the aggressive approach comes off, Beaton and Co. get on top of batsmen and Sunil Ambris smashes 91 off 43 balls. The side effects are 48 wides and three no balls in three matches, and the poor shots Ambris and John Campbell played so early in their innings against Zimbabwe to leave West Indies 6 for 2. While Estwick said that he wasn't "100% happy" with the batting so far in the World Cup, and that Campbell was perhaps a little irresponsible as vice-captain for trying to slog his first ball against the spinner, they would examine the thinking behind that approach and the execution of the plan.

"You hope that they learn from it, that's the key thing, and not repeat their mistakes," Estwick says. "We allow them to reflect on it. There's no point shouting or bawling because it's already happened. We'll have a discussion, see what the mindset was, and see if it boils down to execution."

There's a premium placed on on-field discipline. For instance, during West Indies' practice game against Namibia at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Estwick did not want his players dropping their standards of professionalism after scoring more than 300.

"They are as professional as they can be. Ever so often they need a reminder that they need to keep their feet on the ground," Estwick said at the time. "It's going to be difficult to go at 100% after scoring 327 but what I didn't want them to do was to be laughing at the batsman or fooling around or lowering their standards. They did that nicely."

We're doing everything in our power to keep the young minds from being distracted, from being homesick Roddy Estwick, West Indies Under-19 coach

A significant reason the West Indian players perform on the field is because they are happy off it, a critical factor because they're teenagers on the other side of the planet, away from home. West Indies were in Australia earlier than most other teams, too, on July 21, and so the management - Estwick, Courtney Walsh and Stuart Williams - has been proactive in keeping the team spirit high. While in Brisbane, they made a trip to the zoo despite a busy schedule; the management cooked the players dinner, and they played cards and dominoes. The process continues in Townsville.

"We're doing everything in our power to keep the young minds from being distracted, from being homesick," Estwick says. "The manager [Walsh] offered last night that everybody could come to his room and have a five-minute chat on his phone to their families back home. Just to keep them refreshed.

"It's very important that they can speak to their families, or whoever they want to speak to, to give them that word of encouragement, that word of advice, keep the spirits up. We try and monitor the situation, try and make sure they are happy."

The players are. They come from different countries and backgrounds in the Caribbean but Kraigg Brathwaite, the captain, said it was easier for this group to gel because they'd played together at Under-15 level as well. "It certainly is not easy, especially when you are gathering 20 players from the Caribbean, but this time I believe it is better because the majority of the fellas knew one another," Brathwaite says. "It's [team spirit] quite strong. We have won all three games so we have that momentum going in. We just have to carry it."

Beaton says it's a "home away from home" within the team because of the management's efforts. "We have a good team vibe going on at the moment. So we try to keep that through the tournament. And hopefully we become successful at the end."

West Indies have a three-day break before they play their quarterfinal at Endeavour Park on Monday. Estwick's said he'd be willing to take everybody out to dinner if New Zealand don't make more than 148, which is how many Zimbabwe made today. Beaton, for one, is ready to take up that wager.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (August 19, 2012, 22:19 GMT)

Cheers to the under 19s down under..all the Caribbean spirit of togetherness to you all...keep the momentum and to coach Roddy Estwick, Walsh and Williams...long may you guide these young men....all the best in your remaining games

Posted by delboy on (August 17, 2012, 13:57 GMT)

@gobrooms what knowledge of the management structure and techniques do you have of the other test playing nations? In your opinion success is solely down to the type of management. You sound like Mr Gibson's twin brother.

Posted by satish619chandar on (August 17, 2012, 5:06 GMT)

People may criticize but still, the charge of Gibson and Sammy had made the things a lot better and the game more lovable these days.. No argument that Gayleis the best batsman for WI now but still, as a captain and instilling belief in the players, Sammy stands above and though he is the least talented, pulls above his weight and does the job.. At the end of the day, you need only one thing - Getting the job done.. Wit hthe emergence of WI-U10, it further augurs well for WI.. A strong WI is much needed for cricket.. Lively nation.. ATB folks..

Posted by   on (August 17, 2012, 3:29 GMT)

Well done so far team. You have the support back home. Lets take this Cuo!!!!

Posted by   on (August 16, 2012, 16:39 GMT)

Carrribian King will be back with added vengeance

Posted by denessa on (August 16, 2012, 15:34 GMT)

Congrats windies under 19.......kodios..

Posted by 777aditya on (August 16, 2012, 14:49 GMT)

I am in awe with WI cricket at the moment - the good work of the seniors is seemingly brushing off on the youngsters as well. 'We encourage aggressive cricket' - this bodes well for world cricket! I am such a diehard fan of WI that despite being Indian, I want WI to lift the T20 World Cup - world cricket would certainly be richer with a good WI team.

Posted by gobrooms on (August 16, 2012, 12:58 GMT)

If we had this management team at the senior level for the last few years,we could have been more competitive and successful at the test level!.

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George BinoyClose
George Binoy Assistant Editor After a major in Economics and nine months in a financial research firm, George realised that equity, capital and the like were not for him. He decided that he wanted to be one of those lucky few who did what they love at work. Alas, his prodigious talent was never spotted and he had to reconcile himself to the fact that he would never earn his money playing cricket for his country, state or even district. He jumped at the opportunity to work for ESPNcricinfo and is now confident of mastering the art of office cricket
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