‘Seeram and Chanderpaul influenced my career’- Akshaya Persaud

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By Avenash Ramzan

Guyana Jaguars newcomer Akshaya Persaud has hailed former world number one Test batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul and former West Indies B team player Rabindranauth Seeram as having a positive influence on his career.

The left-handed batsman, who also bowls left-arm spin, was selected as part of the Jaguars 13-man squad for the opening round of the Professional Cricket League Four-day tournament against Jamaica Scorpions, starting Thursday (October 26) at Providence.

When asked by News Room during a Guyana Jaguars practice session on Tuesday about those who have influenced his rise to First-Class cricket, the 20-year-old responded, “The coaches in the Academy and the senior team. Also, at home I’ve been working with my uncle (Rabindranauth) Seeram and I also must thank Shiv (Chanderpaul) for the advice he has been given me throughout my career…my parents and so on and also my villagers, they’ve been very supportive of me.”

Rabindranauth Seeram

While the youngster has been constantly picking the brain of Chanderpaul, a veteran of 168 Test matches, over 11,000 runs and 30 centuries, he has been receiving steady encouragement and guidance from Seeram.

Incidentally, Persaud and Seeram reside in the same village- Cornelia Ida- and they’re now the only two players from the West Demerara community to have ever been called to a senior national team. Persaud’s selection comes 25 years after Seeram played his last regional game for Guyana.

“Uncle Seeram and I would do lots of work in the evenings, especially fitness work. Also we do technical stuff where he would video me and show me where my faults are,” Persaud indicated.

Akshaya Persaud has been in superb form over the last two years

His selection was a direct result of outstanding batting performances over the past two years in the Guyana Cricket Board’s Jaguars Franchise League Three-day tournament.

Playing for West Demerara, the middle-order batsman amassed 941 runs in 13 matches with three hundreds and four fifties, at an average of 52.

In 2016, he piled up 418 runs in six games including a highest of 155, while this year he chalked up a chart-topping 523 from seven matches with a best of 151*, all this while also being captain.

Just doing the basics right, according to Persaud, has worked for him, “Lots of extra work, especially in my batting and bowling. I’ve been working a lot on my fitness also, especially during the rainy season we’ve been working at the LBI Hostel, so I have been putting in my extra work.”

Seeram’s advice has also been a constant source of motivation for the young all-rounder. “All he would tell me is whenever you go out there just keep it as a simple as possible, don’t try to rush things, everything will happen in due time. So I just go out there, stick to the basics and keep it simple.”

A former Guyana youth player, having represented the country one year each at the Under-15, Under-17 and Under-19 levels, Persaud was also a standby player for the World Cup-winning West Indies Under-19 team in 2016.

Prior to that he was also involved with the Guyana Amazon Warriors set-up as one of the young players training with the Caribbean Premier League franchise during their home games. During that stint from 2014 to 2016, he got the opportunity to mingle with world-class players such as Sunil Narine, Martin Guptill, Chris Lynn, Dwayne Smith, Mohammad Hafeez and Sohail Tanvir.

It’s not surprising that exposure has played a significant role in his development and fast-tracked his elevation to First-Class cricket. “That has boosted my career a lot, especially the fitness because the trainers are very hardworking people and I’m very thankful for that part.” 

SQUAD: Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Rajendra Chandrika, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Leon Johnson (Captain), Bhaskar Yadram, Keemo Paul, Anthony Bramble, Sherfane Rutherford, Veerasammy Permaul (Vice-captain), Gudakesh Motie, Romario Shepherd, Akshaya Persaud and Anthony Adams. 

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