CPL: ‘I need to step up my game’ – Emrit

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By Akeem Greene

Four wickets, an economy rate of 10.7 and 27 runs are all that Guyana Amazon Warriors’ captain Rayad Emrit has to show after eight matches in the 2018 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

It has been a horrid time in the middle for the all-rounder, who joined the Warriors in 2016 at a price of USD$70,000. After taking over captaincy from Shoaib Malik this season, Emrit’s usual consistency with the ball has been lacking, which has seen him come under widespread criticism to the extent of calls mounting for him to be axed.

Speaking to News Room Sport exclusively on Friday, the all-rounder admitted he has been under-performing and needs to improve quickly.

“I personally need to step up my game; I know what I need to do and hopefully I can get my game going and the pressure will ease off a bit,” the Trinidadian stated.

He added, “My personal performance hasn’t really been up to scratch, there is a lot of pressure from outside, there is a lot of talk. I don’t really take on social media. In fact, I don’t be on social media when a tournament is going on, but I have a lot of friends that passed on the messages.”

“It is a lot of pressure to be in this position. I still think the team is in a very good position, we won five games out of eight. If you told us after eight games we would be in this position, we would taken it any day”.

Rayad Emrit took over the captaincy after Shoaib Malik left to prepare for the Asia Cup (CPL/Getty Images)

This is second time the 37-year-old has taken over captaincy of the Warriors mid-tournament. In 2016, he led to team to the qualifiers after Martin Guptill left due to the death of his father and this year, Malik had to return to Pakistan to prepare for the Asia Cup.

“It is always difficult [taking up captaincy mid-way]. A lot of people don’t understand how difficult it is from one leader to the next; not everyone has the same way of captaining a team, but I am someone who always accepts the pressure so that is why I get the pressure all the time,” he lamented.

In most units, Emrit might have found himself to be a spectator with the aforementioned stats. However, he still sees a good performance is right around the corner given his rich history- in the last two years he has taken 31 wickets at an economy rate below 7.7.

As such he was questioned, had he not been captain, if he would have still made the playing XI.

“A lot of people keep asking this question. I am second leading wicket taker in CPL  history. A lot of people tend to forget about that. That did not come by chance. We all go through this as players. The greatest players on earth have been through this and I know I have the backing of a lot of people and probably if I wasn’t captain, it might have been a different situation and I respect that.”

“It is cricket and I am sure I am going to bounce back and when I do, I hope the same critiques are on my side”.

For the fans who called him out, he had a message for them, “I just want to tell them I love them and I respect all same way.”

But with such an enormous burden to carry, the Windies player stated the support of close friends and family is what keeps him motivated.

“I have a good family that motives me. Whenever I am down they are the ones that I turn to. Some people may not know, but I have a lot of friends who I play against but always support me. [Dwayne] Bravo, [Lendl] Simmons, [Kieron] Pollard, they are the first to criticise me and they’re also the first to message and say when I do good.  These are the guys I look up to, they play a lot more cricket than me, they learn from me as well as a leader and I also learn from them,” Emrit revealed.

Emrit is banking on coming good with ball especially as Warriors battle Jamaica Tallwahs and Trinbago Knight over the weekend at Providence in the enticing battle for a precious top-two spot.

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