IPL: Hetmyer and Paul’s brotherhood heads to Delhi

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By Akeem Greene

It’s a dream of most young cricketers to play for their country at the highest level. Many aspire and reach the summit and for varying reasons, many fall by the wayside.

Now think of being able of to play throughout all your age group cricket for country, then win the first Youth World Cup for West Indies, as captain and vice-captain, then play for Guyana Jaguars, senior West Indies team, Guyana Amazon Warriors, and now the same Indian Premier League Franchise, Delhi Capitals.

Think of doing all of that with your best bud.

Guyanese cricketing pals Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul have been enjoying that journey, one that is set to continue after they were secured by the same franchise at the IPL auction on December 19.

Paul, who was retained by Capitals for US$70,000, had lost his countryman Sherfane Rutherford to a pre-auction trade. Rutherford went to Mumbai Indians for US$281,000.

But in came the maroons’ young batting sensation Hetmyer for an approximate purse of US$ 1.1 million for the 2020 season. Hetmyer was released by Royal Challengers Bangalore recently after they gave him only five games last season in which he scored 90 runs. He was snapped up for US$588,000 in 2019.

Paul from Saxacalli in the Essequibo river and Hetmyer from Canefield in Berbice, are now headed to India’s capital for a team which showed immense promise last year.

Separate teams last season, Keemo Paul and Shimron Hetmyer will turn out for Delhi Capitals in 2020

The years of playing in the nets, sharing rooms on overseas tours, the childish banter and the words of wisdom have combined to take to India yet again.

“It is a fantastic feeling to have Hetty with us at Delhi Capitals. Last year I had Sherfane and that was great. To have a West Indian player, make it better a Guyanese, with you in the same team is always great.  Me and Hetty have come through the ranks since Under-15 and we always share advice and be there for each other, so to play for the biggest league in the world and play for the same franchise is just fantastic,” the all-rounder Paul conveyed.

The 21 year-old added, “Me and Hetty have a special bond, we are like brothers. I call him big brother, he calls me small brother, that is how close we are. We try to guide each other in every way possible. We try to build each other and grow from strength to strength.”

For him IPL 2020 is just about continuing to improve with both bat and ball. He played eight matches and got nine wickets in 2019.

His cutting variations at the ‘death’ and ability to hit the ball, along with a safe pair of hands are without doubt the reasons he was retained.  Given the balance of the teams, Paul hopes they can go the full distance.

Sherfane Rutherford (left), Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul after an IPL match last year

Newbie to the blue of Delhi, Hetmyer, feels it will be a home away feeling due to the bond between the two.

“It is always good when you go to a team and there is someone there that you grew up with and him being one of the closest friends I have it makes it much easier. Playing with him throughout my entire career and knowing he is there will make it an easier transition.”

World T20 Audition

This IPL is of great significance to international teams as they scout for the best players to make up their World T20 squad for battle in Australia from October to November.

Impressionable performances will no doubt strengthen this duo’s case for selection, if they have not already done so. Barring injury and a horrible dip in form, it would a major surprise if they don’t make the 15-man squad.

“Playing for West Indies is priority. The T20 World Cup is coming up and we each want to improve and we want to do good for West Indies. We are the reigning champions and it would be great if we could be in the team and contribute. Once we are in the team we will definitely want to contribute to help West Indies win. So it is about staying fit and keep performing so that you can stay in the team,” Paul contended.

Likewise, Hetmyer hopes the it could be another cherished moment for them. “It would be heart-warming if we play together and win that World Cup. It would sum up our friendship from growing up together. So right now the sky is the limit.”

IPL 2020 will be held between March 28 and May 24 and the hope for the young Dehil team will be for this strong brotherhood to translate to success on the field and ultimately a title.

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