Resolute Permaul riding the wave to reap Test success

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Report and Photography by Akeem Greene in Barbados

akeem@newsroom.gy

Life as a professional athlete could be a roller-coaster of unimaginable proportions. Case in point, left-arm spinner, Veerasammy Permaul, returns to the West Indies team after years of unjustified absence, immediately snatches a five-for, then goes wicketless in his next match.

Permaul guiled his way to match figures of 8-141 from 53 overs in Sri Lanka, where he had an innings best of 5-35. Next match, on a benign surface in Antigua, he went wicketless in 25 overs for 99 runs against England.

A week later in Barbados, on a similar surface to North Sound, he bounced back and got a match tally of 5-155 in 45.5 overs. His opposite number, Jack Leach, got 6-154 from 94.5 overs in the same match.  Certainly, great toil for both spinners.

The second Test in Barbados was a return to the wickets for the left-arm spinner (Photo: News Room/Akeem Greene/March 2022)

After reaping some degree of success at Kensington Oval, Permaul highlighted it is an inherent attitude to stay positive amidst the lows.

“As a cricketer, you don’t always perform. You got bad days in between so I took that match [in Antigua] as a bad match and put that behind me and work towards the upcoming game. At that moment I know I didn’t have the best of games, so I put that behind and look forward to what is ahead,” Permaul told News Room Sport after the tense draw on Sunday at the Oval.

For this series, Permaul was the lone frontline spinner selected in the West Indies 13-man squad, but he would be well aware that the competition for places is intense as burly off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall and left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican are waiting in the wings to regain their spot.

There are even calls for batting all-rounder, Roston Chase to be selected, more on the premise of his off-spin, which has yielded success at the Test level, and white-ball standout, left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein to be given a nod.

However, quietly unfazed by the outside noise, Permaul wants to make the most of his opportunity, one he wants to prolong as long as possible.

“It is always a great feeling to play for West Indies; I was not in the team for a very long time and I am pretty happy to be back, but it is very important I keep putting the performances out.”

Permaul has been working overtime in the practice sessions to improve his craft (Photo: News Room/Akeem Greene/March 2022)

The 32-year-old further elaborated, “It is important you stay patient and consistent as a bowler as you work with the conditions and try and make the best use of it.”

15 years of First-Class cricket and 557 wickets have thought Permaul that to add significantly to his nine Test matches to date, it calls for great application and patience.

“Over the years I have been consistent, I have the ability to read the pitches by knowing the pace and variation to bowl on the surface. As you look at the Test matches, there was not a lot for the bowlers, but you have to be patient and keep consistent for a batsman to make a mistake.”

“When you bowl a bad ball at First-Class level you might get off, but at Test level, you won’t get off easy, so it’s about ensuring you remain consistent over long periods,” Permaul added.

As the only frontline spinner, it is highly likely the Berbician will retain his spot in the playing XI for the final Test, which starts Thursday in Grenada.

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