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Celebrating West Indies’ Under-19 World Cup triumph with caution

West Indies, Under 19 World Cup, Chris Gayle, India, Party
With the national side in a constant state of turmoil, the West Indies Under-19s have shown that there still might be hope for the future. We analyse the two levels of West Indian cricket, heading in divergent paths.

What a difference two weeks makes. On February 2nd, Keemo Paul was vilified – for the most part – for Mankading Zimbabwe No.11 Richard Ngarva, claiming victory for West Indies and a path into the quarterfinals. Three matches later, on Valentine’s Day, Paul was in action at the end of another match, this time with the bat and hand and the subsequent edge leading to universal goodwill as West Indies claimed their maiden Under-19 title, beating heavily fancied India in the final.

Chris Gayle, Test captain Jason Holder and opening batswoman Merissa Aguilleira tweeted their congratulations. Former pacer Ian Bishop compared the achievement to the 2004 Champions Trophy victory and the 2012 World T20 triumph – both accomplishments of the senior side. Having beaten sub-continent giants Pakistan, hosts Bangladesh and favourites India in the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals respectively, the West Indies under-19s were deserved winners of the most sought after prize in junior level cricket.

As the accolades poured in, it was impossible not to reference the current mire the West Indies senior team finds itself in, continuing its one-controversy-per-season protocol.

A day after West Indies’ selectors announced their squad for the World T20 tournament, there is a very real possibility that all the players may boycott the tournament over a contract impasse. Captain Darren Sammy has been in email communication with the West Indies Borard, putting forth the teams’ demand of higher match fees and a share of sponsorship fees and prize money. However, a resolution doesn’t look likely with terms like highhandedness, force, unreasonable, reprisal and mediation thrown about with gay abandon.

As part of his congratulatory post for the Under 19 team on Instagram, Sammy wrote, ‘I just pray things are better when these #futurestars graduate to the #SeniorTeam.’ For now the Under-19 colts celebrate but, if history is any indication, the future may not be all that bright after all.

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