Mansingh banks on all-round ability to propel Tallawahs to 3rd CPL titleWednesday, June 23, 2021
BY SANJAY MYERS
ROOKIE Abhijai Mansingh is banking on his all-round ability to help Jamaica Tallawahs to their third hold on the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) title and bring delight to local cricket fans.
“It's a great opportunity; I've been waiting a long time to get this opportunity and I've been working hard during the [ novel coronavirus] pandemic,” the 24-year-old told the Jamaica Observer after he was announced as a member of the Tallawahs set-up for the 2021 season.
“I want to use it (the opportunity) as a springboard for more success and try to get in the West Indies team. It [being drafted] is a launching pad, but the main opportunity is to win a title for the Tallawahs organisation and bring some joy to the people of Jamaica who've had some challenging times in the last couple years with COVID and the crime issue,” the former Jamaica Under-19 player said.
This year's CPL Twenty20 (T20) competition is set to run from August 26 to September 15 in St Kitts and Nevis. The Tallawahs, who enjoyed title-winning campaigns in 2013 and 2016, are regarded perennial contenders, however, defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders are expected to start favourites.
Mansingh, who plays local club cricket for Melbourne CC, is hailed as a solid top-order batsman, but he believes his leg-spin bowling will be a useful option for the Tallawahs.
“I'm assuming I'll be doing a lot of bowling as a leg spinner because leg spinners aren't really that common in the region, so I think I can bring that X-factor with the ball. I turn it both ways — I bowl leg spin and googly. So I'm looking to, hopefully, take a lot of wickets and score runs for the Tallawahs and push my name out there.
“My stock ball is the leg spin but the googly is a fun variation to have. It's a lot of hard work to master it, so it brings a lot of satisfaction when you do get a wicket from a googly. In T20 cricket you have to think ahead of the game, so my plans will depend on the batsman, using angles, and using the crease,” the Jamaican explained.
The former Campion College player, who looks at Nepal's Sandeep Lamicchane and India's Amit Mishra as two of the top wrist spinners in the game, said batting remains his first love, though he has always taken bowling seriously.
“I love to open the batting. I'm still, and will always be, a batting all-rounder, but you know with leg spin, it's in demand. [But] I've always taken pride in both aspects of my game, [and] I think leg spin is in demand for the T20 version,” he told the Observer.
Mansingh's lone senior appearance at the regional level came in November 2019 for the Combined Campuses and Colleges. He said he wants to build on that by playing regional four-day cricket and grabbing the attention of West Indies selectors for a possible Test team call-up.
“I live for Test cricket, and I definitely want to wear the maroon cap of West Indies in Test cricket — that's my ultimate goal. Everything else that comes along with that is a bonus, but that is my ultimate goal and that's what I work towards.
“But I definitely have to pick myself. Opportunities have been hard to come by in the last 18 months because of lack of cricket in Jamaica, but I think whenever I'm given the opportunity I just have to kick down that door and pick myself. I need to score big runs — I'll be the first to put my hand up and say that in the last couple years I've been getting starts but I haven't been getting big runs, so I need to take personal responsibility,” he said.
Jamaica Tallawahs squad – Rovman Powell, Andre Russell, Shakib Al Hasan, Carlos Brathwaite, Haider Ali, Chadwick Walton, Fidel Edwards, Jason Mohammed, Qais Ahmed, Migael Pretorius, Kenar Lewis, Ibrahim Zadran, Veerasammy Permaul, Abhijai Mansingh, Kirk McKenzie, Joshua James, Ryan Persaud.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login