Photo Credit: Cricket West Indies
The 2022 West Indies Rising Stars U19 Championship represents the first time young Caribbean cricketers are playing long-format cricket at any level since 2018.
This follows the Caribbean hosting of the ICC Men’s U19 World Cup which was successfully hosted by Cricket West Indies in January and February several other participant in the tournament players represented the West Indies. These include: Ackeem Auguste (Windward Islands), Johann Layne (Barbados), Nathan Edward (Leeward Islands), Onaje Amory (Leeward Islands), Carlon Bowen-Tuckett (Leeward Islands), and Jordan Johnson (Jamaica).
One of those players in this year’s competition is talented young 17-year fast bowler Isai Thorne from Guyana. The young Thorne first came to cricket public attention during the summer 2021 West Indies youth tour of England. He hails from the famous area of Berbice, Guyana that has produced legendary past West Indies players such as Rohan Kanhai, Basil Butcher and Alvin Kallicharan to modern-day senior teams players Shimron Hetmyer, Romario Shepherd, Gudakesh Motie.
Thorne spoke to CWI Media at the Arnos Vale Sports Complex during the just-concluded match between Guyana and Jamaica.
You have already experienced playing youth cricket against some of the world’s best U19 players. How have you found coming back and playing your first U19 tournament against Caribbean players?
We still have a good set of players that come back Under 19, so it’s still good competition. So you still have to be doing the basic things well, going out there hitting length and trying to get wickets and impress as much as possible.
You hail from the famous Berbice cricket area of Guyana. Growing up, what were some of your role models as a young fast bowler?
Well, I came up watching Niall Smith, and Romario Shepherd and watched their training session when they were back home. So I grasp my confidence from those guys and seeing them play at the top level, has given me most of my confidence.
You represented the West Indies during the ICC Men’s U19 World Cup earlier this year. So for yourself and all of those players, did you look at this as a tournament as an opportunity to come and dominate?
As a West Indies player, I believe you need to come here and show why you are a West Indies player. So for me, yes I came here trying to dominate and show that I’m a step above and doing everything I can on the field to help my team win the competition.
In round two versus the Leeward Islands, you took a six-wicket haul. How have you found the bowling conditions compared to what you experienced growing up in Guyana or what you experienced bowling during the Under-19 World Cup?
It’s not the easiest for fast bowling, but I think we could still work with it. But I think as senior youth players, we should be able to cope with the conditions and try to make the best out of it and I think I did that in the last game against Leewards.
Obviously, during the U19 World Cup, it was white ball cricket where at maximum you only had to bowl 10 overs. How have you found the transition in this three-day tournament where you have had to bowl more than 10 overs over two innings?
It has been a very difficult thing because, since last August, I haven’t played any red cricket. So coming here after playing the first game was tough, I have been able to just kind of get into it. Bowling the overs is not a problem for me, because I think I’m fit enough to bowl the overs. It’s just that in the white ball game you are trying to hit the stumps more than often we will do here in three-day cricket.
How has the experience of bowling in English conditions during the 2021 West Indies U19 tour helped your game as a young player so far?
It was still a challenge because it was new conditions and all of that from the West Indies. But I think it really helped me as a fast bowler. The conditions were helpful to fast bowling and it shows you how you need to be consistent to get wickets.