Hetmyer ready for captaincy challenges with Amazon Warriors
Guyana Amazon Warriors have made it to the knockouts of all nine editions of the CPL so far but have never won the title.
This season, they have a chance to break that jinx and clinch their first trophy, in front of their home crowd. The prospect of Guyana hosting the CPL final for the first time has raised the expectations of the fans.
The tournament being played just one month out from the next T20 World Cup has raised the jeopardy for the players. But Shimron Hetmyer, Amazon Warriors’ new captain, is letting none of that cloud his mind.
“I actually see it as a challenge and I relish challenges,” Hetmyer said during a virtual media interaction. “Want to really perform and do the best for my team because I know once I do half of my best or even my best, we will get there to a decent score more times than not. So, it’s really for me to focus on how I go about doing that and how I go about setting up an innings and just being out in the crease for as long as possible and not thinking too far ahead to the World Cup.
“I’m very excited, actually, it [captaincy] is something I was really looking forward to, to be honest. It’s something that I could learn a lot from, in terms of managing my innings, how to look after the team and be a little bit more of a team player than just trying to basically hit sixes and fours. I’m trying to do as much as I can in terms of being the captain and trying to help out as much as I can and just being there for the team.”
This will be Hetmyer’s first taste of captaincy in the CPL – he takes over from Nicholas Pooran who has returned to his home franchise Trinbago Knight Riders – but he isn’t unfamiliar with leadership roles. In 2016, Hetmyer captained West Indies to the Under-19 World Cup title in Bangladesh.
Then, in CPL 2021, Hetmyer had been appointed ‘batting director’ of Amazon Warriors as part of the franchise’s plan to give younger players additional responsibility.
“It [Under-19 captaincy experience] will help quite a lot; 2016 was quite a while [ago],” Hetmyer said. “But I guess from then it has helped me in some way because now I know I’d have done it before and just need to tap into that knowledge box to find a way to get stuff done and to find a way to actually cross the line more times than not.”
Hetmyer is also open to taking inputs and suggestions from the other members in the squad. “There’s a lot of guys there that are actually experienced and it helps in terms of field placement, see where the guys are and move them into specific angles and stuff like that.
“There’s also Keemo [Paul] who is a friend of mine who helps me as well. [Romario] Shepherd, Colin [Ingram]. Basically, the entire team will come over to me and actually lend some advice in terms of what they’re thinking and even the bowlers will come and try to basically pick my brain, in terms of what I would want them to do, which is really nice. It’s always good to know that there’s guys you could always go to and find out what they’re thinking and then they could help you in terms of field setting and who is the bowler at the specific time to make sure that everything goes smoothly.”
Hetmyer hinted that lower-order muscle in the form of Shepherd and Odean Smith could allow him to bat higher rather than slot in as a finisher – a role that he performs for his other T20 franchises.
“It [batting position] is to be decided, to be honest. It’s mainly about the balance of the team,” Hetmyer said.
“In this team, I think it would be much easier for me to bat a little bit higher because of the fact that we have so much power down towards the end and being in a team like that you wouldn’t really want to disrupt the powerplay and at the end; it’s about trying to stick around as the captain and as a batter of the team and get as much as I can out of the team.”
Shepherd and Paul have had to deal with injuries during West Indies’ recent international home season, but Hetmyer backed them to work their way back into the CPL and do the job for Amazon Warriors.
“I think injuries would’ve done quite a lot,” he said. “They would’ve gotten injured during the West Indies series against India – both of them got injured. But, as it is, the physio is doing a wonderful job taking care of [players] and managing the workload and stuff. So, I think coming into the CPL they would be much better and much stronger.” (ESPNcricinfo)