Gutsy, committed and mature.
Those were just some of the words used by Trinidad and Tobago Under-17 coach Dasrath Maharaj to describe his team’s performances on their way to clinching their first West Indies Cricket Board/Tobago House of Assembly Regional Under-17 title in Tobago on Sunday.
It was T&T’s first regional youth title since 2010 and it came on the back of match-winning performances from Amir Jangoo who most of T&T would not have known about prior to the tournament.
The St Anthony’s and Merry Boys wicketkeeper/batsman scored 259 runs in the tournament with a high-score of 96 and an average of 51.8. He also had seven dismissals behind the stumps and earned the overall MVP award.
“I thought they showed a lot of character, guts, determination and will. They put their life on the line,” Maharaj said of the players, pointing out that Jangoo, skipper Varindra Jagrup, as well as batsmen Jameel Jeron Maniram, Jyd Goolie and Brandon Jaggernauth all lifted their game to ensure T&T came out on top.
“The guys were faced with a lot of challenges but they went out there and gave it their all for their country. They never gave up. They fought until the very end and were rewarded,” he added.
All of T&T’s matches went down to the wire as they finished the tournament with a record of four wins and one loss with all the games finishing in the last three overs.
“Jangoo was one of the success stories of the tournament. His job was to anchor the innings and bat deep and he did that admirable,” Maharaj said.
But T&T had batting right down to the tail and that is what made the difference the coach explained.
“At the back end of the innings we had Clevon Kalawan, Maniram and Goolie and even Jaggernauth who shored up the innings for us.
“It was really the depth of the batting that pulled us through. Maniram showed great maturity in two unbeaten knocks in the first and last games and Goolie and Jaggernauth also played big roles.”
Maniram battled through a side strain for the latter part of the tournament and T&T also had to overcome the loss of key pacer Shane Smith on the eve of the tournament. Amrish Rampersad, who replaced Smith in the 14 man squad, also got injured half way through the campaign, fracturing his thumb during training.
But both Smith and Rampersad were in Tobago over the weekend to support the team and witness their eventual triumph.
The team returned to Trinidad yesterday with Kalawan and Bryan Boodram now joining the T&T Under-19 squad as they continue their preparations for the Regional Under-19 championships starting next week in St Kitts.
Regional Under-17 Honour Roll
Overall MVP--Amir Jangoo (T&T)
Most Runs—Ross Powell (Leeward Islands)
Most Wickets—Daryl Cyrus (Winward Islands) Best Economy Rate—Zubin Deyal (Leeward Islands) Most Dismissals-Wicketkeeper--Deon Burton (Windward Islands) Best All-rounder—Shemar Springer (Barbados)