Walsh Jr. aiming to become West Indies’ premier spinner

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By Akeem Greene

Wrist spinners are in high demand currently in International cricket, especially in the shorter formats of the game.

Since Devendra Bishoo, West Indies have been searching for another quality leggie, and the man putting his hands up is Hayden Walsh Jr.

The leg-spinner has his eyes set on becoming the premier spinner for West Indies in the limited-overs formats.

Still early days in his international career, the spinner says he is working overtime to perfect his craft.

Walsh Jr. seemed the unlikely candidate given he was playing for the United States of America up until August 2019.

After a stellar Caribbean Premier League (CPL) in 2019, where he topped the charts with 21 wickets, life has been in the maroons since for the man with Antiguan roots.

As West Indies look to iron out their best squad for next year’s World T20 in India, the main spinner will be key, and there is also the possibility of Sunil Narine making a return.

The leg-spinner has been working on improving his batting

“I definitely see myself as being at the top of the world; I want to be number one in the world as a spinner. So just working on being that X-factor is number one in all my practices,” he stated on Sunday during a Virtual presser.

Walsh said because of his variations he believes he is currently the premier leg-spinner in the Caribbean.

“I am definitely seeing myself as the premier leg-spinner because I turn the ball; I have a googly, a slider and I just think it is my variations that put me a step ahead and also I am not afraid to use my variations.”

He added, “If I do get hit, I get hit but I am not afraid to use my armoury. [In New Zealand] I have not been getting a lot of spin off the wicket, but once I go forward with my confidence and do put spin on the ball, I am sure I will be able to pick up a few wickets here and there for the team.”

This is his first international tour since the pandemic, but second time under quarantine, having done the ‘bubble’ in Trinidad and Tobago for the CPL.

Some of the paintings Hayden Walsh Jr. has produced while on quarantine in Christchurch, New Zealand

Interestingly, Walsh Jr. said he has found painting to be a way of helping him during the quarantine. In New Zealand, the West Indies players are undergoing 14 days of managed quarantine.

“In cricket wise, it helps me to stay calm; in painting, they say you can’t rush the brush so I have been trying to take that into cricket where I don’t try to rush things as much [and] just take the strokes nice and easy.”

This CPL, he only got seven wickets in his 10 matches, but spoke about learning from Barbados Tridents teammate and spin ace Rashid Khan.

Improving his batting is also another aspect of his game he has been working overtime on behind the scenes.

His ability with the bat is known for a special knock in January at the Kensington Oval. He made an unbeaten 46 when Sheldon Cottrell hit a six to seal the victory.

Walsh was batting for only the third time in his One-Day International career, but shared in partnerships of 52 and 32 for the eighth and ninth wickets as West Indies recovered from 148-7 to hold off Ireland and take a 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

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