ABHIJAI Mansingh said his innate fighting spirit led to the back-to-the-wall all-round effort which earned Jamaica Scorpions a draw against hosts Leeward Islands Hurricanes in the regional four-day match last week.
The 25-year-old cricketer — only brought into the contest as a substitute for Alwyn Williams who was ruled out on day one because of medical reasons — had a dream start to his first class career, with both bat and all.
Mansingh's leg spin bowling gave him match figures of 5-77 as he troubled the opposing batsmen in both innings at Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua. But arguably the bigger impact came with the bat — his 56 helping the Scorpions to 234 in their first-innings reply while a defiant, unbeaten 62 on the last day denied the hosts victory.
Scores: Hurricanes 260 & 241; Scorpions 234 & 200-9.
"I am a fighter; I worked extremely hard to get this opportunity. I think that fighting mindset came out in this game. It was a pitch and a bowling attack where you had to fight to get runs and know how to absorb pressure," Mansingh told the Jamaica Observer when asked about his match-saving display.
The all-rounder, who represents Melbourne Cricket Club in Jamaica, showed he was ready for action almost immediately upon joining the fray, all the more outstanding because he was not initially in the starting team.
His second over yielded the wicket of Hurricanes skipper Jahmar Hamilton.
"I was firstly disappointed for Alwyn — my thoughts are with him at this time and I hope all goes well for him and we can see him back soon. But to enter the match at that point, I was just relieved to be making my debut and I was ready to get to work right away," Mansingh said.
"My mindset was to play my role in the bowling attack. The coaching staff made it very clear to me what my role is and I was focused on just building pressure and creating wicket-taking opportunities. As a leg spinner I know I am there to take wickets and be attacking," he explained.
He said he also had straightforward plans with the bat even in the face of tremendous bowling from off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, who claimed 10 wickets in the match.
"I have very clear process and approach to my batting. I know once I stick to my plan the pressure of the game does not affect me, [and] I had full confidence in my teammates," said Mansingh who batted at number six on both occasions.
The Scorpions' next outing is scheduled to start Wednesday against defending two-time champions Barbados Pride at Coolidge.
— Sanjay Myers
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