Super50: Akshaya Persaud motivated to dabble with the seniors

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By Akeem Greene

The upcoming CG Insurance Super50 Cup will feature some of the biggest names in the current West Indies set-up and performing well against them could go a long way in nudging the senior regional selectors.

White ball captain Kieron Pollard, Test skipper Jason Holder, the exciting Nicholas Pooran, spin wizard Sunil Narine and West Indies limited-overs bowling spearhead Sheldon Cottrell are among the Caribbean’s frontline limited-overs players at present, who will play in the tournament.

This year, the six-team tournament will take a round-robin format, as opposed to the usual group stage, which means young Guyanese batsman Akshaya Persaud is bound to come up against quality opposition.

“Having the big names is an extra boost, an extra motivation for me. Growing up you always been looking at the television and seeing those guys play and now going and play against them is a very good thing for me, so I am just looking forward to the challenge,” he related to News Room Sport in a recent interview.

Flashback! Akshaya Persaud receiving his CCC cap in 2019

While this is his first call-up to a Jaguars’ Super50 squad, the left-handed Persaud has already played List A cricket. In 2019, he was part of the Combined Campuses and Colleges squad.

He scored 137 runs in five innings at an average of 34.25 with two fifties, while also taking four wickets with this left-arm spin.

Both half-centuries- an unbeaten 51 and 55- came against a Barbados Pride bowling attack featuring West Indies players Ashley Nurse, Miguel Cummins and Chemar Holder.

“(in 2019) I had a fairly good tournament with CCC, but now going to represent Guyana in the upcoming Super50 is a good feeling for me going into the tournament.”

The lad from Cornelia Ida on the West Coast of Demerara, added, “It was a good opportunity for me (playing for CCC), I learnt a lot. There were the likes of Carlos Brathwaite around the team, so I just tried to learn as much as possible from him, and I try to apply it to my game.”

Whatever role is required with the bat, the 23-year-old said he is up for the challenge

Judging from the Guyana Jaguars three practice matches, it is likely Persaud will find a place in the middle to lower-order, to perform the ‘finisher’ role, and it is something the 23-year-old is upbeat about.

“Probably that might be my role looking at the team combination, but whatever opportunity I get I just want to put my best foot forward and hopefully we can go ahead this year and win the tournament.”

Despite the pandemic, the Cricket Guyana Inc. contracted player said he had to be innovative at home to ensure he kept himself in the best possible shape.

“For a few months, we could not train outdoor, so we just tried to maximise whatever things we had home to use as a weight and whatever we could have done online with our trainer [Neil] Barry Jr. and as the time went by, later in the year, we did some running and some outdoor training and some indoor work. I guess it is progress and it is coming along very good.”

This year’s Super50 will be played in a ‘bubble’ in Antigua from February 7-27. Jaguars’ first match is on February 8 against Barbados Pride at the Coolidge Cricket ground.

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