Sheeno shines

Leewards pacer impresses on regional debut campaign

BY SANJAY MYERS
Senior staff reporter
myerss@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

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LEEWARD Islands Hurricanes pace bowler Sheeno Berridge is one of the finds of regional cricket this season after strong performances in his debut campaign.

The 27-year-old Kittitian tallied 24 wickets at an average of 22.63 in only six four-day matches to help the Hurricanes finish third in the six-franchise league.

In the ninth and penultimate round earlier this month Berridge seized the spotlight with career-best match figures of 9-105 — including 5-59 in the second innings — in the 57-run loss to Jamaica Scorpions at Sabina Park.

The long-limbed bowler, though not express quick, troubled the hosts' batsmen on a fairly docile pitch that offered far less to the pacers than it did the spinners.

Though skilfully getting the ball to swing both ways at decent pace, he favoured slanting it away from the right-handers.

“[I am] not really surprised because I just stuck to the task and was consistent, and there was progress,” was how Berridge summed up his performance against the Scorpions.

“I was just being consistent and putting the ball in the right areas, and just backing myself with whatever I do. I just controlled the seam and used the shine [of the ball],” he told the Jamaica Observer.

His age suggests he is in his prime as a pace bowler, hence some would find it odd that he has only now appeared on the first-class cricket scene instead of about eight to 10 years ago.

Berridge noted he has been playing for a “long time” before finally breaking through under current Head Coach Winston Benjamin.

“I can't really answer that [delayed introduction to regional cricket], but I've been around for a long time, and now I just have to continue working.

“It's been hard work. I did some work with the CPL [Caribbean Premier League] teams and with international teams coming in, always going in the nets and bowling.

“I started doing some training with the Leeward Islands Hurricanes and the coaches saw me in the nets and were impressed with what they saw,” he explained.

Benjamin, the former West Indies fast bowler who took charge of the Hurricanes last August, told the Observer he moved to enlist Berridge once he got wind of the quality the bowler possessed.

“When I saw him first I was wondering why he wasn't in the set-up earlier. I had a word with him, and I said, 'Listen, we're going to need you,' and he said every coach that came around told him the same thing.

“I said to him 'I'm not every coach, and I know what I'm seeing and I know what I want.' We gave him the opportunity and so far he's been doing pretty well,” said the Hurricanes coach.

“He also bowled well in the game before [against Trinidad and Tobago Red Force at Queen's Park Oval]. He got his opportunity a little bit late, and he has made up a lot of ground,” Benjamin continued.

The Hurricanes Captain Kieran Powell, who missed much of the first-class season due to West Indies duty, was also positively stirred by Berridge's performances.

“This is my second match playing with him and I'm really impressed. He seems to be a very good find for us. Obviously, [fast bowler] Jeremiah Louis has improved leaps and bounds, and now to find someone like Sheeno Berridge… so we are making strides in finding new talent,” said the left-hand Test opener during an interview with the Observer.

Guyana Jaguars lifted the four-day championship crown for a fourth-straight year after amassing an impressive 166.8 points. Barbados Pride were second with 114.4 ahead of the Hurricanes (94.8), the fourth-placed Scorpions (93.6), fifth-placed Windward Islands Volcanoes (85.6), and the cellar dwellars Red Force (82.4).

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