Amazon Warriors’ Chandrapaul Hemraj anxiously awaiting CPL 2020 season

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS – SEPTEMBER 22: In this handout image provided by CPL T20, Chanderpaul Hemraj (L) and Brandon King (R) of Guyana Amazon Warriors 50 runs partnership during match 19 of the Hero Caribbean Premier League between Barbados Tridents and Guyana Amazon Warriors at Kensington Oval on September 22, 2019 in Bridgetown, Barbados. (Photo by Randy Brooks – CPL T20/Getty Images)

During the course of the week, the Amazon Warriors retained many of their big names for the 2020 edition of the Hero CPL. Among those was local hero Chandrapaul Hemraj, who had an outstanding season with the Warriors in 2019.

Hemraj played his first CPL match in 2018, when he represented the St Lucia Zouks and participated in only two games; but his breakthrough came in 2019, when he featured in 12 games playing for the Guyana Amazon Warriors and scoring 299 runs at an average of 24.9, with an impressive strike rate of 121 at the top of the order and a high score of 66.

He went on to prove his worth with the ball, bowling in 7 of the 12 games in which he played, and bagging 5 wickets at an economy rate of 6.9 and best bowling figures of 3/15.

Moreover, he was the third highest run scorer for the Warriors, and was placed at number 7 in the overall batting charts.

Hemraj was asked by INews how he regarded being retained by the Guyana Amazon Warriors for the 2020 CPL season. He replied: “First of all, I want to thank the Warriors management for retaining me; they always support their players 100 percent. In terms of my fitness and batting, well, I basically train in the morning and then (have) a video chat with all the Jaguars’ players. Batting-wise, I practise on the concrete with a soft ball, this is to work on my hand speed and reflexes, as this is all I can do until the COVID-19 passes.

“When it comes to my bowling, I have seen the improvements, and I would definitely like to move out of the ‘part-time bowler’ bracket and into (being) a full-fledged all-rounder.”

Hemraj has also said he believes the Warriors had an excellent run in 2019, despite not being able to win the finals. He noted that whenever the 2020 edition commences, he would be looking to play his natural aggressive game and get some big scores under his name.

Asked how he views his chances of making the Windies T20 squad and possibly representing them at the World T20 tournament, Hemraj said, “Actually, I had my eyes set on making the Windies T20 squad since last year; but, hopefully, in the near future, I can have a go at it. A point to note is that the Warriors have played the best cricket over the years, but it is unfortunate we didn’t get to cross the line. For me to be back in the West Indies set up it’s all about consistency and hard work. And that has been my main goal, which is to perform well and play international cricket.”

The CPL is scheduled to take place between 19 August and 26 September, but tournament organisers are still closely watching the situation with the COVID-19 disease, and are liaising with medical advisors and governments. A decision on whether the tournament can proceed as planned, or at a different time, will be made as soon as possible. (Timothy Jaikarran)