Cricket

Comeback trail

Jamaican pacer Reynard Leveridge rearing to go

BY SANJAY MYERS
Senior staff reporter
myerss@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, September 15, 2017



Jamaican fast bowler Reynard Leveridge relishes the chance to set the record straight after injury abruptly curtailed his run on the West Indies 'A' tour of Sri Lanka last October.

Spotted bowling impressively in the practice nets at Sabina Park ahead of the Test match between West Indies and India last year, Leveridge, standing way over six feet tall, was fast-tracked into the 'A' team.

But he suffered a groin injury which ended his first-class debut — against Sri Lanka 'A' — in only his fourth over.

Leveridge, an ordinary seaman (equivalent to a private) in the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), recuperated to excite many with his breakneck pace in the first half of the regional four-day tournament late that same year. That electric form carried over into the regional 50-over tournament early this year.

But, again, his groin gave way; this time in the final of the 50-over competition. He had accounted for 13 wickets in the shorter format and was one of the most-talked-about players in the competition before the injury sidelined him.

His opportunity at redemption arrives next month in familiar opposition.

Sri Lanka 'A' team's tour of the Caribbean begins next month, and Leveridge, who is included in the regional squad, is scheduled to leave the island for Antigua in a few days for the start of a training camp.

“I'm looking forward to the preparation, and I know we have a lot of physical [work] to do in Antigua, but I'm mentally and physically ready for that,” he told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday.

“It [this chance] means a whole lot to me, because the first game against Sri Lanka 'A' I had to pull out of the series with a groin injury. I didn't get the opportunity to stamp my class and let the world know what I can do. This one is really important to me, so I'm going to go out there to do my best,” Leveridge, who turns 27 today, explained.

He insisted that the experience gained since his debut has toughened him.

“The last 'A' tour I didn't know exactly what to expect, but after playing some first-class games for Jamaica and playing in the Super50 [50-over tournament] I basically know exactly what I'm going to do and how I'm going to execute my game plan,” he said.

Leveridge, who attended Jamaica College, said his sporting activities were limited to hockey, football, and track and field during his high school years. He started representing the country in hockey as a teenager, and was only introduced to cricket after joining the JDF and being encouraged by coaches there.

“I played for Jamaica's hockey senior team from I was 15 right up until I was about 17. I went into the army and represented Jamaica again. From there I branched off because the coaching staff saw something in me for cricket. I didn't see it, but they firmly believed that I could be a West Indies fast bowler. I put in some hard work and now I'm loving the results,” he explained.

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