Cricketer Rampersaud overcomes adversity to succeed at CSEC

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Jonathan Shambach Rampersaud.

Make a mental note of that name; it could be one you’re shouting exuberantly about in a cricket match at Providence.

This 16-year-old could be a standout in years to come, as there is unquestionable talent, and an unwavering dedication to perfect the art of being a genuine all-rounder.

However, on this occasion, his elegant strokeplay with the bat and turn and bounce with the ball will take a back seat, bringing to the forefront his academic pursuits and excellence.

Rampersaud, a student of J.C. Chandisingh Secondary School, wrote this year’s Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) under unusual circumstances like many, and secured nine Grade Ones and two Grade Twos.

At the start of the year, he was enthused about the opportunity to represent Guyana in the Regional Under-17 cricket tournament and excel at his exams; however, he was only able to achieve one as the dreaded coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the age group competition.

An aspiring Agricultural Engineer like his grandfather Bridgmohan Ramsaran, young Rampersaud is currently awaiting word from the University of Guyana with regards to advancing his academics.

In 2018, just after he returned from national Under-15 duties in Jamaica, his father, Charran Rampersaud, a farmer, suffered a stroke which has caused his left hand to be paralysed.

It meant his mother, Rohanie Rampersaud, who sells confectionery and food outside of a school, had to take up the role to be the sole breadwinner of the family from Portuguese Quarter, Port Mourant.

He was fortunate to have his CSEC fees paid by the MMP Foundation of Berbice.

Jonathan Rampersaud rips one of his off-spinners for Berbice in a clash with rivals Demerara

According to the only child, when COVID-19 forced the closure of schools in March, it became even more difficult for them as a family, but on the bright side, the lockdown allowed him to place further emphasis on academics.

“With cricket not being played, I found most of my time spending hours studying my book and going to farm,” he told News Room Sport.

“School was then opened a month before examinations for children writing CXC and [we] had to adapt to a new regime of sanitisation of hand and wearing of a mask, which was quite difficult during times to focus when there isn’t a full amount of oxygen to inhale.”

This is just a step in a long flight to success for the young man, who explained his ultimate goal is to excel both on and off of the field. Harbouring such ambitions meant he had to burn the ‘midnight oil’.

“Succeeding in both cricket and education is my dream. I worked tirelessly to balance both education and cricket together and giving them both most of the attention. After school, I would go to practice and return home around 6pm and then would take an hour extra lesson at home from a teacher then I would spend some time finishing my school work and reading my books.”

“My advice to young sport persons out there is, give your all to whatever you do, and the hard work would pay you off in the end.”

Jonathan Rampersaud (centre) with teammates Leon Cecil (left) and Mahendra Gopilall

Luckily for Rampersaud, the Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club is the backyard to his school, which has better allowed him to manage the time slots for both cricket and school. He has hailed the impact of the club on his career.

Surprisingly though, 2018 was the only year he was fortunate to don national colours and was subsequently drafted as a standby player for the West Indies Under-15 team.

That outing in Jamaica brought him 118 runs in six innings with a top score of 69 against Leeward Islands, and six wickets, having best figures of 2-18 against Barbados.

Now that he is no longer eligible to represent the nation in Under-17 cricket, Rampersaud plans on producing the goods to push for a spot in the national Under-19 team.

The rise of young talents such as Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul, Romario Shepherd, and Rampersaud’s clubmate Kevin Sinclair, has enthused the young cricketer and his family that the dream could become reality, if he just keeps on working hard.

“Cricket isn’t being played right now, but I am home keeping myself fit and working to build strength in some of my main areas; when cricket resumes, I would like to see myself climbing heights.”

The hope is that Rampersaud can be awarded a scholarship in the near future so he can be afforded the chance to live his dream.

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