Monday, April 15, 2024

Barbados move paying off


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Jomel Warrican has no regrets about his father’s decision to relocate to Barbados in a bid to develop his son’s cricketing talents.
“I have enjoyed every minute of it,” said Warrican, of his life in Barbados since moving here from Tortola in the British Virgin Islands as a young secondary school student.
Though born in St Vincent, young Warrican never participated in cricket until he moved to Tortola where at the tender age of ten, he represented the island in the Leeward Islands Under-19 Tournament.
That year he was only allowed duties as emergency fieldsman, but the following year he was part of the starting XI.
So outstanding was the 11-year-old that knowledgeable individuals involved in Leeward Islands cricket suggested a move to a more developed cricketing environment in the interest of maximising the obvious potential.
“I came to Barbados and from first form at Combermere I was introduced to Mr [Roderick] Estwick. My cricket has skyrocketed since then,” said Warrican who is very appreciative of the work done by the Combermere coach to help his cricket.
Warrican recently returned from England where he benefited from a cricket development programme, one of the perks for winning the Lord Gavron Award last year.
Plying for Sefton Park in the Lancashire League, the left-arm spinner picked up 45 wickets in 15 matches, helping his side to semi finals in both Cup and League competitions.
“The first thing I had to overcome was the coldness and the wetness,” he told MIDWEEK SPORT. “Sometimes you wake up to play cricket and outside is extremely cold. Mentally I would say, ‘I cannot do this but I had to overcome that’,” he said.
“As a bowler, to actually spin the ball with the fingers still numb is actually very difficult. You have to warm up very quickly and overcome the ball being wet as well.
“It became easier over time and was then natural to me.”
Warrican remained in close contact with Estwick but was under the direct guidance of a Level 4 coach, Dave Goodall.
On his return it did not take long for fans to witness the improved product. In his first outing since his stint in England, the former West Indies Under-19 player took 16 wickets (eight in each innings) and scored an unbeaten half-century against second placed CGI Sandy Crest Maple at Bank Hall. The performance earned his side an outright win with maximum points.
While his wicket-taking form has been widely known, Warrican’s explosive 65 not out took many observers by surprise.
“It was the result of hard work and dedication,” he revealed.
“Playing for Empire, I am not often needed to bat but when I played in England my club required me to bat. Working with Dave [coach Goodall] and Rachid helped me tremendously,” he explained.
Warrican was given the responsibility of batting at No. 7 for his club and responded with three half-centuries and an average of just over 30.
Armed with the experiences gained in an English summer, including the opportunity to bowl at top English players Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Alastair Cook, Craig Kieswetter and Kevin Pietersen, Warrican is looking forward to a bright future.
“I would like to finish the first division season on a big note, let the selectors know I am still here so that when the first-class season comes around next year it will be playing on their minds.
“I would like to make my first-class debut next year because I really feel I have the potential and capability to do it,” said Warrican.
“It is a pleasure and a joy to represent your country and to do well for your country,” the psychology major at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies added.
Warrican is also looking forward to wearing the West Indies colours at the senior level some day.
“I would not only want to play for the West Indies but to be a permanent fixture in the team and become a great player.
“I like to work hard at my game and push myself. I know I have to work hard to get to the top,” said Warrican who believes the winning habit cultivated at Combermere has been crucial to his development.
“It helped with your whole attitude towards the game.
To come to cricket with a winning attitude gives you a psychological advantage over who you are playing against.
“Playing for Combermere, our main objective was always to win. We were taught never to back down. Even when you are on the back foot always believe that you can still win.”


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