Yadram learns independence through cricket sojourn
By Avenash Ramzan
Guyanese all-rounder Bhaskar Yadram said being away from his family for nine months playing cricket has taught him independence.
The 20-year-old, contracted by the Windward Islands Volcanoes this season, spent the most part of the last year in Grenada, basically fending for himself, while playing cricket for a living.
In an exclusive interview with News Room, Yadram reflected on that journey and spoke glowingly of how proficient he is now in cooking a certain Guyanese-type curry.
Away from comfort
When Yadram, a former West Indies Under-19 player, was bought by the Volcanoes for the 2019-2020 season, it meant leaving the comfort of his home to pursue a dream.
That dream- to one day play international cricket for the West Indies- began on the countryside pitch at Enterprise where a little boy, surrounded by his parents and siblings, fell in love with the bat and ball.
The unflinching support from dad Seemangal, mom Shameiza and siblings Kamesh and Kavita, both of whom represented Guyana in cricket, stands strong to this day, but Bhaskar faced an uncertain road when he hopped on that aircraft destined for Grenada in 2019.
Instead of the luxury of a home full of affection after a long day on the field, Bhaskar had to find solace in a living quarter; finding ways of satisfying his taste buds and of course ensuring he wasn’t walking around with ragged clothing.
Luckily, technology made it easier to communicate with the family back home, especially when he needed guidance on ingredients for certain meals.
Understandably, the first two weeks were a major challenge, as Bhaskar had to fight the battle of survival even before getting on the field of play. It was, in hindsight, a scenario that was helping him to face the tests of life head on, circuitously aiding him to cultivate maturity.
Learning on the go
“I had to man up,” he said with a smile.
“It was a good learning experience for me. As a youngster growing up I always wanted to play at the highest level, so I just had to adapt to the situation.”
Being away from home “is not easy”, Bhaskar noted, adding that as “a family guy, I’m around family a lot and I enjoy their company, so it was hard at the start.”
While that initial phase was tough, Bhaskar was determined to maximise on the opportunity, realising that the only way to succeed was “by making adjustments, and eventually I did.”
“For the first two weeks or so I just had to groove into it, and just play out the situation, just to show that I feel comfortable. After the two weeks and being around the (Windward Islands Volcanoes) guys, they welcomed me, so from there I started to feel more confident and more comfortable. It became easy after the first two weeks,” Bhaskar reflected.
“The cooking part really was a bit tough, but I learnt from my father and calling my mother, asking her ‘how to cook this’ and ‘how to cook that.’ Now, after being over there eight to nine months, I know to do everything by myself now; it learnt me to be independent, so when that time comes again, I know how to handle the situation.”
Low returns, great experience
While the runs and wickets were not in abundance, the experience of rubbing shoulders with regional stalwarts Devon Smith and Shane Shillingford, and coach Andrew Richardson, and having conversations on cricket helped Bhaskar to get a better understanding of the game.
In the lone First-Class game, incidentally against Guyana Jaguars, Bhaskar made 16 and picked up 2-23, but he got more opportunities in the Super50, playing seven games.
Though he managed just 48 runs in six innings, Bhaskar’s medium-pace produced seven wickets, including a career-best 4-22 against Trinidad and Tobago Red Force.
In that spell, he removed the experience duo Darren Bravo and Jason Mohammed, who were both well set on fifties, and then followed with a quickfire 24 off 17 balls, but Volcanoes fell short by two runs.
Apart from the senior players in the Volcanoes set-up, Bhaskar also reached out to his family every evening and they were a constant source of encouragement.
“They were there by my side all the time, and they tried not to pressure me at the same time,” Bhaskar related.
Now that he is back home, the pressure is on Bhaskar to cook, and every time he has delivered thus far.
He boasts of his brother-in-law having great things to say about a fish curry he prepared just days after he returned from a life-changing trip to the ‘Spice Isle.’