Rutherford heads to IPL with “an open mind”

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By Avenash Ramzan

Guyanese all-rounder Sherfane Rutherford is heading to the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League with an open mind, the willingness to ask questions and a fervent desire to make an impact whenever the opportunities arise.

The 20-year-old, known for his brutal hitting, departs Guyana on Wednesday night for the long sojourn to India to link up with his Delhi Capitals teammates ahead of the March 23 start of the biggest global T20 showpiece.

The dashing left-hander, who also bowls right-arm fast-medium, was snapped up by the Delhi franchise for a whopping US$280,000 at the auction in December.

Rutherford rose to prominence in the Global T20 Canada in 2018, blasting 134 not out off 66 balls in a must-win game for West Indies B against eventual champions Vancouver Knights.

Sherfane Rutherford celebrates his hundred for West Indies B in the Global T20 Canada in 2018

He also ransacked 45 not out off 13 balls, inclusive of six sixes, for Guyana Amazon Warriors against Trinbago Knight Riders in the Hero Caribbean Premier League at Providence in September.

In an exclusive interview with News Room on Wednesday, Rutherford spoke of his expectations of spending two months in India.

“First of all, thank God for the opportunity. I’m very excited to go there. You know it was always my dream to go to the IPL, and the opportunity is here so I just want to go and take it with both hands,” Rutherford said.

He added, “It will be a great learning experience for me. There is still a lot of things for me to go there and learn, especially for my game and even (gain knowledge) on other tournaments. I just want to go there with an open mind, be willing to ask questions and every opportunity I have to make an impact.”

Rutherford did not have the best Regional Four-day season, which will end this weekend, scoring just 132 runs and picking up 10 wickets in seven games. However, he is putting that disappointment behind as he switches focus to a format that has brought him global acclaim.

“I’m still confident of going to India and doing my best. There is a big difference between the red ball and the white ball so I’m not that low on confidence; it’s just for me to go and be positive and the rest will follow,” Rutherford, who played his lone T20I against Bangladesh last December, related.

Sherfane Rutherford and Shimron Hetmyer meet mid-pitch during the former’s match-winning blitz against Trinbago Knights Riders at Providence

The Guyanese all-rounder, who has a strike rate of 137.30 in domestic T20s and has struck 11 sixes in just eight innings, highlighted what he needs to do to ensure he reaps the rewards during the two-month tournament.

Not surprisingly, he is bracing for a heavy dose of spin.

“There are a lot of spinners in IPL so it’s good when you can master the spin and try to adopt very fast,” he reckoned.

Rutherford has also secured a contract with cricket equipment brand SS, and he would be using their products during the League.

“I love the gear, they’re very nice and I can’t wait to go in the IPL and use them and do my absolute best,” Rutherford, who will join fellow countryman Keemo Paul at Delhi Capitals, stated.

Batsman Shimron Hetmyer is the other Guyanese to feature in this year’s IPL. He will play for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

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