At the age of 19, Sherfane Rutherford may have leapfrogged a few of his colleagues to be considered ‘next in line’ to strut the Maroon colours of the West Indies team.
This is after he captured the world’s attention with a career-defining century in the just-concluded Canadian Global T20 League.
The Demerara Cricket Club (DCC) player was always regarded as a rare talent; one who could make it to the next level but after his recent exploits with not just the willow but with the ball in hand, merged with his gladiator-like character, Rutherford must surely be on his way.
Following his return from Canada, he confirmed to Stabroek Sport his ambitions to play at the highest level. “My goal has always been to make the West Indies team, so it’s just for me to keep putting in the performance and wait for the opportunity,” the all-rounder revealed to Stabroek Sport when asked whether his recent showing has fast-tracked his expectations of playing for the Caribbean side.
Asked whether he was just living in the moment or if he genuinely believes his performances are a mark of something to come, Rutherford didn’t hold back from making his intentions known, much like his batting.
“I am confident that I can play at the highest level which has always been my dream. So, when my opportunity comes, I just have to take it with both hands,” the youngster said.
There was much talk about his match-winning unbeaten 134 to carry the West Indies ‘B’ into the final. That aside, his overall numbers were quite impressive.
Rutherford finished the tournament as the leading run scorer for the Caribbean Development Side and third overall  with the only century of the tournament where fifties were hard to come by. His nippy medium pace bowling also brought him seven wickets from his eight appearances in the league to land him in good stead in an era where the West Indies’ selectors are keen on selecting genuine all-rounders.
Rutherford’s self-assurance and maturity also created talking points during the tournament where he shrugged off an animated Sheldon Cottrell – the tournament’s leading wicket-taker – who wasn’t pleased with the treatment Rutherford handed to him during his impressionable century. He was treated with disdain by the Guyanese youngster.
That self-assurance had earlier poked its head when Rutherford seemed unfazed after being struck on the helmet during earlier rounds of the tournament by former West Indies speedster, Fidel Edward. “After being hit on the helmet, it motivated me because playing at that level, my only intention is to do well. So being struck on the helmet was just a reminder of where I was and what I needed to do,” Rutherford told Stabroek Sport.
He certainly matched his talk with action and went on to be one of few who aced Cricket West Indies’ experiment to field a team in the tournament.
In hindsight, he really left an impression, and West Indies may have found a gem.
Rutherford’s exploits, however, will have to be backed up in the looming Caribbean Premier League (CPL), and the other regional tournaments which are opportunities for him to break into the West Indies ‘A’ side to increase his credentials to take him further afield.The foregone conclusion is that he is supremely gifted. Not a lot of youths his age is of his calibre and his passage to the West Indies team is now in his hands.
The world anticipates his next touch on the big stage. ‘Remember the name.’