Monday, December 5, 2022

CWI: Tevin Imlach – We are capable of taking the game away from any team

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Having won the Under-19 World Cup in 2016 as an opener for West Indies, it is no surprise that 25-year old wicket-keeper/batter Tevin Imlach is confident about Guyana Harpy Eagle’s chances of winning the CG United Super 50 title this season.

‘’We have a lot of match winners in our team, players who are capable of taking the game away from any team’’,

he says when talking to the Caribbean Cricket Podcast about his side’s chances.

Although Imlach does feel it’s been challenging for batters playing the CG United Super50 this year in Trinidad;

‘’it’s been tough, the wickets are slower, as you expect when you come to Trinidad, it’s not easy, but once you apply yourself you can do well on these pitches’’,

something which he did versus Combined Campuses and Colleges, scoring 63* in Guyana’s winning effort.

Having batted at numbers three, four and five so far in the tournament, Imlach says his preference is to bat in the top order between positions one to three, but he is willing to do what is needed:

‘’I’m the type of player who likes to spend time at the crease, watchful, I like to have that time where I can actually build an innings, but whatever the team asks of me I do my best’’.

For Imlach, it has been a long road to get to this point, having won the ICC Under-19 World Cup, which included a vital half century innings against Pakistan in the quarter finals, he had to wait two years before making his Super 50 debut, for the West Indies B side in the 2018 edition, where he was captained by former West Indies international Marlon Samuels.

A call up to the Guyana red-ball side followed later that year, but appearances were limited.

‘’That’s one of the challenges for playing for a side that does well, it’s hard to break into the team’’. A wicket-keeper by trade, he has found opportunities to put on the gloves limited, so has worked on scoring the runs as a specialist batter instead. Sporadic appearances for Guyana were curtailed when the COVID pandemic suspended the 2020 season, yet despite not being able to play matches, Imlach says he kept practising ’’I did stuff at home, gym stuff, I’m fortunate that my Dad loves the game, him being at home, he helped me practise batting and keeping, we would have gym in the morning and batting in the afternoon as I had space in the yard’’

The work seemingly paid off as a fruitful 2022 saw Imlach excel for Guyana Harpy Eagles, averaging 53 in the red-ball domestic season and earning a maiden call-up to the West Indies A side for their series in August against Bangladesh A, where he also kept wicket during the two first-class games they played.

‘’The call-up was a surprise, after just 3 first-class games in the season, but I was happy for the opportunity, it’s been a long time coming’’.

Having predominantly played red-ball cricket this season, Imlach has had to work on adjusting to the white ball format for the Super 50,

‘’in four-day cricket you leave a lot of balls, balls in certain areas you don’t try to play, but when it comes to one-day cricket, I played in the West Indies A-team white ball series batting at number five, where you have to move the innings along…it is a challenge but I am getting the hang of it; I just try to play the situation’’.

Imlach credits the leadership of Leon Johnson in Guyana’s team spirit and confidence in this year’s Super50:

‘’he has a lot of knowledge about the game, a great understanding, he’s had success in four-day and one-day cricket, with one day cricket we have been unfortunate, we’ve made two finals in the past three editions, but were outplayed on those days’’.

Describing himself as a player that rotates strike in limited overs cricket, he looks up to Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson. Although harbouring dreams of one day getting a call-up to play for the West Indies senior side, Imlach for now is solely focused on the CG United Super 50 and securing the title for Guyana Harpy Eagles, which would be their first since 2005.

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