Ever since his heroics in the 2016 edition of the ICC under-19 World Cup, Keemo Paul has carried the expectation of being one of the players earmarked to go on to the senior West Indies team.
An all-rounder, with the genuine ability to swing the tide of a game with both ball and bat, has seen him proving pundits right, after bagging 42 wickets in the last regional four-day competition, behind spinners Veerasammy Permaul (50) and Imran Khan (48). He recorded his maiden first-class century against Jamaica at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence.
No doubt these factors contributed to him earning his maiden call-up to the West Indies A team, another stepping stone on the way to the West Indies senior side. “It was a pretty exciting feeling [getting the call up], and it just goes to show that with hard work, dedication and discipline what you can achieve,” the 19-year-old told Stabroek Sport.
“It was a bit surprising,” he said, while adding, “but I am also ready to grab the opportunity with both hands.
“I didn’t plan this at the starting of the season, but you know after a good four-day season and a decent run, so far, in the 50 overs, [have] helped my chances. So I’m just taking it all in, and I’m eager to go and perform once given the opportunity.” In underscoring the importance of this opportunity, in relation to achieving his ultimate goal – that of wearing the maroon colours at the senior level, he expressed his desire to continue to play an identical brand of cricket which has brought him success thus far.
“If given the opportunity to play, I just want to be myself and play the same kind of cricket that got me there. Obviously, it’s a big opportunity for me, it’s another stepping stone in getting into the senior team, so I just want to go give my best,” the young man said.
Following his impressive form in the four-day season, Paul has continued to perform at a high level in the ongoing Regional Super50 festival, grabbing 14 scalps at the time of his call-up as a replacement for the injured Miguel Cummins.
Delivering searing yorkers while providing early strikes with the new ball, the Essequibian articulated that he is bowling better than he ever did.
“I think my bowling is right up there at the moment. I’m feeling pretty good whenever I have the ball in my hand, so it’s just about executing now,” Paul noted.
His batting, on the other hand, has been slightly disappointing, after opening the season with a century. Nevertheless, the young man is not too bothered and plans to remedy the kinks with the bat as the season unfolds.
“Batting wise, I have not been in the best of form lately, and even though I didn’t get runs in the Super50 when I batted I felt pretty confident. So, definitely a little bit more time in the crease and hopefully things can change for me. I have also been working pretty hard in the nets also,” Paul added.
Paul credits his success to the pillars of hard work, discipline and dedication, blended with the ability to adapt to various situations and conditions.
His leaps and feats have continue to grab the attention of cricket fans across the region, who have eagerly followed the young man’s development since he burst on the scene. A good showing against a relatively strong Lions team will no doubt land him in good stead for future consideration.