Sunday, April 21, 2024

Polius reaching for the stars


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“I would rather be unemployed and play cricket than be in a steady job and not be able to play.”
This passionate declaration came from the mouth of Dalton Polius, who was recently drafted into the inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League for the Zouks, St Lucia’s franchise team. 
At the age of 22, he is focused, determined, knows what he wants and is going after it. 
Polius could have opted to go the route that most take after leaving school; that is, apply for a ‘regular’ job, receive a fixed salary and be relatively content. 
However, this was not an option that this young man from Corinth could consider because he realized the challenge he would face when requesting time off to represent his country for cricket. 
He’s grateful to the Ministry of Sport in St Lucia that employed him, along with Johnson Charles, Garey Mathurin and Keddy Lesporis, as a cricket coach because this allowed him the flexibility to play cricket professionally.
Polius attended Castries Comprehensive Secondary School where he was the first student from the school to be chosen to attend Woodhouse Grove School in England. This opportunity came about as the result of a scholarship established by the St Lucia Tourist Board, which gave young persons the chance to study and play cricket overseas.
Polius attended Woodhouse in 2007 to pursue his ‘A’ Level studies, and returned home in 2009. Not one to let a chance to play more cricket pass him by, he told his coach at Woodhouse, Ian Frost, that he wanted to return the following year. Frost didn’t hesitate. He scouted around and it wasn’t long before the Collingham Linton Cricket Club scooped Polius up. 
One of the club’s players, Sam Anderson, was a past student of Woodhouse and Polius was invited to play with the Club in the Aira-Wharfe Cricket League, Division 1. He played for one season and returned to St Lucia in 2010 to focus on playing for the Windward Islands.
The all-rounder says cricket, just like family, is a major part of his life. He grew up watching his father playing cricket on the community playing field.
“My dad was a huge cricket fan and played cricket with passion. At first, I didn’t really like the sport but it grew on me. Having been in the environment for so long I had to give in, and once I did it was like second nature. It was like a natural progression of my life and from then onwards I wanted to be a cricketer.”
Polius started taking cricket seriously at the age of 11 and was soon playing in local leagues organized by the Ministry of Sport and representing St Lucia and the Windward Islands in both Under-15 and Under-19 tournaments.
In 2011 he played his first game for the Windwards (senior team) against the England ‘A’ in Dominica and in 2012 he helped St Lucia to win the Windward Islands tournament for the first time in 43 years. He entered the programme at the Sagicor High Performance Centre in Barbados in June this year, and the 18-month stint will take him up to December 2014.
When he first started playing, Polius says there were Brian Lara and other West Indians from the Caribbean who he could emulate but no one that he could look up to at home. 
“Then Darren Sammy came along. He is my hero and has been a source of inspiration to me. He has achieved so much and my aim is to reach and even surpass his achievements,” Polius said.
His mother, Marilen said she brought Polius his first bat when he was 11. 
“He hasn’t put it down since,”?she added. “Sometimes he would just hold the bat in his hand even when he wasn’t playing, and that’s how I knew he was serious, and would reach somewhere. We come from a sporting family – netball, football and cricket. I was very good at netball but Dalton has broken through barriers that we couldn’t cross.” (CPL)


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