2016
02.18

Hugs, kisses, thank yous and congratulatory messages were the order of the day for the three Jamaican members of the championship winning West Indies Under-19 cricket team who returned to the country yesterday.

Led by several members of the cricketing fraternity, including Jamaica’s West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president, Dave Cameron and Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) president, Wilford ‘Billy’ Heaven, Michael Frew, Odean Smith and Shahid Crooks were met at Norman Manley International Airport.

“What you did, you showed all of us what is possible when we get together as a people,” stated a beaming Cameron, who led a series of tributes at a welcome ceremony held at the airport.

“It is a message that if we get together and believe in what we are doing and assisting each other, then the sky is the limit.”

The regional cricket boss, who expressed apologies for Minister of Sports Natalie Neita Headley, also used the occasion to give assurance that the entire team will in due course be “properly” rewarded.

“We have given you some tokens, but we believe we need to find meaningful ways of rewarding you for what you have done,” he said.

Organised by WICB sponsor, Digicel, the ceremony also had in attendance several family members of the players, as well as their school coaches, principals and well wishers.

“To beat India in Bangladesh is a big thing,” said Heaven.

“I want to say to you congratulations and all the best in your future endeavours in the field of cricket.”

Heaven, who was also accompanied by Jamaica Under-19 chairman of selectors, Wayne Lewis, JCA secretary Fritz Harris and chief executive officer, Courtney Francis, also commended the team of their self belief.

“During your send-off for the World Cup, we, the JCA, said to you at a ceremony that we believed in you and I think that you took that statement seriously,” Heaven remarked.

“You believed in yourself as it is only a strong belief in yourself that could have led you to that victory.”

Elon Parkinson, head of public relations at Digicel, also weighed in, expressing that Frew, Smith and Crooks had made Jamaicans and West Indians proud.

“Michael, Odean, Shahid, big up,” said Parkinson.

“You have made your schools St Elizabeth Technical and Maggoty High, your clubs, the Westmoreland and St Elizabeth Cricket Associations and by extension Jamaica and the West Indies, extremely proud.

The West Indies last week defeated India by five wickets in the final of the ICC Under-19 World Cup, which was held in Bangladesh.

- Jamaica-Gleaner.com

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