STEPHAN Pascal, West Indies Rising Stars Under-19 captain, is honoured to lead the maroon at next year’s ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup and wants to ensure his team is in the right competitive mindset ahead of the January 2024 tournament in Sri Lanka.
The right-handed batsman hails from Dominica and is currently in Trinidad with his teammates for a two-week training camp. The camp features five 50-over matches; three against TT’s U23s and two against USA’s U19 squad, who will also feature at the World Cup.
Pascal has been tasked with the responsibility of leading the region’s young team into battle against the globe’s top U19 cricketing nations, and he welcomes it.
“We just have to bask in the moment. I have to be proud to be a captain of a West Indies team. But I can’t dwell and stay on that, I have to go out there and do the job,” he told Newsday.
Pascal captained the squad for a three-match One-Day International U19 series against Sri Lanka in August. And despite losing the series 2-1, he is motivated to keep working harder and developing his craft.
“I just want to improve and keep on growing from strength to strength. Hitting the ground running in the World Cup is the main goal. Obviously, we want to win it.
From a personal standpoint, I just want to contribute as much as possible. Be it in the field, with the bat or with my leadership,” he added.
Pascal was pleased the team could use these two weeks to get to know each other better and collaboratively build on their strengths. The Sri Lanka tour was the first and only tour they’ve ever been on together.
After this camp, the team regroups once more, in Antigua, from December 10-20, for another round of training sessions. They part ways for the Christmas season and then reunite for their trip to Sri Lanka.
Pascal wants an all-out effort from his troops and believes he must lead by example.
“I have a strong mentality and I’ll just try to bring that to the team as much as possible and make sure the team has that same mentality. We have to go out there and do the job.
“Any preparation we can get together is very important. Coming from different territories it’s very hard to work together and even stay motivated. I feel us coming together is important,” he added.
West Indies U19s last won the World Cup in 2016 but have never made it back to the final. However, over the years, they’ve been able to transition players from this division to the U23 level, and even List A.
“We are at a higher level, with gelling and bonding as a unit. The team is a family. We just have to keep building on that and keep getting closer and getting to know each other’s strengths as we get closer to the World Cup,” he said.
West Indies U19s begin their World Cup quest against Scotland at the R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium, Colombo, on January 17.