Holder gives Paul thumbs up for impressive debut

Keemo Paul (left) is congratulated by Ashley Nurse after taking a wicket during his maiden ODI on Thursday.

HARARE, Zimbabwe, CMC – Highly-regarded all-rounder Keemo Paul has come in for high praise from West Indies captain Jason Holder, following his international debut against Afghanistan on Thursday.

The 20-year-old, a late replacement for the injured left-armer Sheldon Cottrell, scored an unbeaten 16 batting at number 10, and then grabbed a brace of wickets with his lively pace, as West Indies slid to a three-wicket defeat at Harare Sports Club in their opening Super Sixes match of the ongoing ICC World Cup Qualifiers.

“I was really pleased with Keemo. He flew in two days ago, had a practice session [on Wednesday] and was straight into the game,” Holder said Thursday.

“We’ve obviously got some injury concerns in our camp and he was asked to do a job and I felt he performed creditably.”

A key member of the West Indies side which won the Youth World Cup two years ago, Paul’s stocks have risen quickly of recent. He starred in the recent first class season, grabbing 42 wickets and also scored his maiden hundred, as he helped propel Guyana Jaguars to their fourth straight title.

In the recent Regional Super50. Paul snapped up 13 wickets at 21 runs apiece, earning a call-up to West Indies A where he took eight wickets – including a five-wicket haul – in two one-dayers and notched a half-century.

Holder said Paul’s strong all-round assets showed he was one for the future.

“He’s one of those guys who have been doing really well on the domestic circuit back home,” Holder noted.

“He’s very skillful and shows he has some potential with the bat as well and he took a really good catch today for us.

“I expect really good things from him going forward in the future and I want to wish him all the best.”

West Indies face Zimbabwe in their next Super Six match, in what will be a must-win encounter.

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