January 23, 2018

Hetmyer hoping to play his part in ensuring Windies is Number 1 again

BY Akeem Greene

Graced with an overwhelming amount of talent Windies newest batting prodigy Shimron Hetmyer knows a successful future lies ahead but it will not come easy and calls for him to further adapt to the rigours of international cricket.

The 21-year-old wants to make the number three position his own in years to come ©Sarah Ansell / Stringer

While there is no question of the arsenal he posses with the willow, his five Tests to date has yielded a high score of 66 against hosts New Zealand in a series late last year.
Batting at number three, the dashing left-hander took a toll on seasoned campaigners Neil Wagner and Trent Boult but just as the picture was being painted for a maiden ton, he lobbed a catch to extra-cover.
With an appreciation for his positive approach, the player is conscious that he needs to find the equilibrium to his innings.
“Yes I’m trying my best to balance [my aggression] off as much as I can with the head of the batting coach [Toby Radford]. I try as much as possible to focus on my job which is scoring runs,” he explained.
Reflecting on his highest Test score, an innings which spanned 89 deliveries, eight of which were fours and two travelling for maximums, he summarised it as “playing his natural game.”
“Well after I got out in the first innings in that way, I went back and had a talk with the coaches and they told me to play my natural game and have a clear mind set as well, so I just executed well.”
Captaining the regional youth team to ICC Word Cup glory in 2016 and playing 24 First-Class matches (debut in 2014) for Guyana Jaguars would have been the weight of his CV for the intricate number three position but for the 21 year-old, the challenge to succeed is what propels him to never give up.
“Well I don’t really see it as something difficult but rather as a challenge for me and I’m taking as much advice as I can from the rest of the team to conquer the challenge.”
In his first three Tests, a home series against Pakistan, he had a high score of 25 and accumulated 96 runs in six innings. Ultimately, it was an opposite reflection of the vast talent he possesses and questions become lingering over his readiness for the level of the sport.
Though not flatteringly, he answered any possible critiques with an improved showing in the two Tests against New Zealand, by being the regional team’s second leading run-scorer with 122 at an average of 30.50.
“I didn’t really make that much of a change [from Pakistan] actually because the pitches there [in New Zealand] were really good with the ball coming on and was a bit easier to play my shots”.
Fast growth
On the Blackcaps tour, he made both his One Day International and Twenty20 International debut which a capped the rollercoaster experience for the Guyana Cricket Board player senior male cricketer of the year.
“It was a great experience with my age and everything. Like being 21 and playing for West Indies in all formats. Yes, it was actually surprising.”
Now having a taste in all the formats, battling it out for five-days remains his most favoured since it carries a nostalgic value from his years of watching the former greats play. His modern idol is Australian pocket-rocket David Warner.
With an action-packed year of cricket scheduled for Windies, the man from Canjie, Berbice plans on filling his appetite with runs to prolong his promising career.
“Well I’m going to try to get as much game practice I could get and make some big scores in the process. I try to focus more on making runs than anything else since I want to play as long as I can and make the West Indies number one again in all formats.” An improved showing by himself and the Jaguars in the upcoming Super50 is first priority as he hopes to stake a claim for a 2019 50-over World Cup spot should the regional side be successful at the qualifiers in March.