CPL 2020: Hetmyer’s ideal position is at three, says Warriors Head Coach
By Akeem Greene
Calls have been made for Shimron Hetmyer to move one step up the order and open the batting for Guyana Amazon Warriors, given the poor starts they have had in this year’s Caribbean Premier League.
However, Head Coach Johan Botha says the ideal position for Hetmyer is at number three. Hetmyer started CPL 2020 like a man possessed, despite five months of inactivity due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
He scored 63* against Trinbago Knight Riders then 71 against St. Lucia Zouks, but since then his best score in five innings has been 26.
Given the lack of solid opening stands this season for Warriors (just one 50-plus partnership), and the general batting struggles, ideas floated for Hetmyer to open, which potentially would allow six-hitters Nicholas Pooran and Sherfane Rutherford to bat higher, thereby facing more deliveries.
Botha said opening with Hetmyer was given consideration, but there was no keen interest to make such an adjustment.
“We thought about that a couple of games ago, but spoke to ‘Hetty’ about it; his ideal position is still at number three. He is one of our senior batters and same with Brandon [King]- he said he wants to open, ‘Hetty’ says he is happy at three so we have got to trust those guys,” Botha stated at a Virtual press briefing on Monday.
“They have been playing together for about three years now; I know Brandon is in his second year, but we got to trust them that they know their best role and they are two of our key batters. One at one and one at three, that’s how we see it at the moment, and both players are still very happy with that,” he added.
Botha further felt pushing more of the seasoned players up the order could be a risk if there is an early collapse, noting the importance of having experienced players coming down the order.
“We can still have Nicholas, Ross, a bit further down, otherwise, I feel we are going to be very batting top-heavy and if teams get us three or four down, we are struggling a little bit. So at the moment, if we can keep those guys spread out, there is a little bit more power throughout the innings.”
After Hetmyer’s 71, his scores read zero, four, five, 26 and one. Not the returns expected from one of the team’s most dynamic player, but according to Botha, it is the nature of the T20s and they are backing him to come good.
“It is a tough one; I think T20 batting at the top often you get away and you sort of keep going with it and that is what he did in games one and two, he got a start and just controlled the innings for us. I think from there on, the wickets were a bit tougher [and] guys looked to have different plans against him.”
“Queen’s Park is a hard one; I think all batters struggled there over the last week and ‘Hetty’ made some good runs for us at Brian Lara [Crcket Academy], so I think he will be happy to go back there; there is a little bit more bounce, a bit more pace in the wicket and I think that is what he prefers. I think he is still in a good frame, he has failed a few times but speaking to him, he is still positive, he is still our number three and he is definitely still one of our best players.”
In 32 CPL matches, Hetmyer has scored 834 runs at an average of 28.8, but has a healthy strike rate of 135.4.
He has five half-centuries, and is still the youngest player to date to score a century in the League.