CPL 2020: Warriors skipper has “full faith” in “match-winning” Rutherford
By Akeem Greene
To date, the 2020 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) has been one to forget for promising all-round talent, Sherfane Rutherford.
In seven matches this season for Guyana Amazon Warriors, the left-hander scored just 39 runs, has an average of 5.6, a strike rate of 76.5, and a highest score of 15.
Not good numbers for the 22-year-old, who told News Room Sport prior to the tournament, he wanted to “win more matches” for the Amazon Warriors.
It is the ‘Biggest Party in Sport’ that has given Rutherford the platform to become one of the next generation power-hitters from the region.
In his debut 2018 season, he scored 171 runs and at a strike rate of 142.5, and eventually made the West Indies T20 team. In 2019, runs the reduced but the strike rate was still in excess of 140 and there was also the Indian Premier League contract with Delhi Capitals.
Though the returns of Rutherford have not been desirable, his captain Chris Green is backing him to come good, owning to his quality and hard work behind the scenes.
Rutherford had used the COVID-19 down time to work overtime on his improving his fitness.
“Sherfane is a quality player, he is a key part of this Guyana team and like everyone, goes through peaks and drop in form and I have been impressed by his continued effort and pushing of development of his own game,” Green said Monday at a Virtual press briefing.
“He [Rutherford] has stayed close to our team and the guys have a lot of love for Sherfane, they have been helping him as much as they can and he has got a tremendous amount of work ethic. He has come into the side [with] probably his best physical condition I have ever seen him in over the last two years, so he is working hard at his game and wants to do really well.”
Rutherford played six matches on the trot, but was then dropped after the lean patch. He returned for the final preliminary match on the back of Keemo Paul being rested, but made one from three balls.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all the matches had to be held in Trinidad and Tobago, across two venues – Queen’s Park Oval and the Brian Lara Cricket Academy – and there were some criticisms over the standard of the pitches, which have been less than batsman-friendly on some occasions.
“Batting in these conditions; it can work for you or it does not work for you. Other guys have put their hands up at different times and I am sure Sherfane, if his opportunity does not come this tournament, it could [come] next tournament as he has the IPL, and hopefully next year as well but we still have full faith in Sherfane pulling through and delivering that match-winning performance for us.”
Upon conclusion of the CPL, Rutherford will head over to the United Arab Emirates where he will turn out for defending champions Mumbai Indians.
Overall, Green indicated they are a close group of players who support each other skills and motivate each other to succeed.
“I think going through that run [in 2019] and losing at the final really hurt us, but the realisation was that we still achieved something really amazing. I really do believe we are in a good place as a group, we are a close-knit family and we are just excited about this challenge and opportunity where we are very confident in each other success and the belief is certainly there.”
Warriors have maintained their perfect record of qualifying for all the knockout rounds in the tournament and will look to reach their sixth final, should they defeat St. Lucia Zouks on Tuesday.
However, it is left to be seen how Rutherford will be able to force his way into the playing XI with Paul returning to what has become a settled and successful team.