‘It’s a call every cricketer anxiously waits for’ – Guyana’s Romario Shepherd says of Windies’ call-up

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PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: In this handout image provided by CPL T20, Romario Shepherd of Guyana Amazon Warriors bowls during the Hero Caribbean Premier League match between Trinbago Knight Riders and Guyana Amazon Warriors at Queen’s Park Oval on September 5, 2018 in Port of Spain, Trinidad And Tobago. (Photo by Ashley Allen – CPL T20/Getty Images)

By Brandon Corlette

Since his Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) debut in 2018 for the Guyana Amazon Warriors (GAW), it has been a road to success for the steaming fast bowler, Romario Shepherd. From a successful Regional 4-Day career for Guyana Jaguars to a successful stint with the West Indies A and in the 2019 CPL.

The right-arm paceman spoke exclusively to INews moments after he got the news on his maiden One-Day International (ODI) selection and shared his sentiments on his call-up to the West Indies team that will face Afghanistan in November.

“It’s a call every cricketer has been waiting for, when I got the call I was very happy to be selected in the ODI squad,” Shepherd stated.

After finishing with 13 wickets in the recently-concluded CPL (the second highest by fast bowlers), Shepherd stated that it was a good tournament for him. “Starting the tournament, I told myself I will try to do my best in each game. I didn’t really have a target in terms of wickets; I tried to bowl my best deliveries. That was the plan; after the first few games, I was successful and that was a confidence booster,” Shepherd noted.

He added that breaking into the West Indies ODI squad was just the start for him. “Getting into the squad is the easier part but staying there is the harder part. I will do my best to stay there for a long time. When I am named in the starting XI, I will do what I do best and even work harder,” the humble Tucber Park cricketer declared.

The 24-year-old Shepherd thanked Carl Moore of Tucber Park Cricket Club, who has always had that belief in him. “From day one he always told me that I have what it takes; he saw something in me before anyone did, so I must thank him for backing me 100 per cent, even if he is not around, he always calls and supports me,” Shepherd highlighted.

The well-built fast bowling all-rounder had also shown his prowess with the bat, striking it big. “In terms of batting in the CPL, my team was aware that I can hit the ball, so I had made use of that. Coach (Johan Botha) always tells me when three overs is left, I have to go,” Shepherd explained.

The prospering Berbician had earlier topped the Regional 4-Day charts with the most wickets by a fast bowler.

In only 22 First-Class matches, Shepherd has 70 wickets at a staggering bowling average of 23.71. He has two five-wicket hauls with a best of 5-24. He has also played for West Indies A against India A where he showed his skill against some high-quality players from India. Known as a ‘death-bowling boss’, Shepherd has 17 wickets in 13 T20 matches at an average of 19.70. He has a best bowling figure of 4-13.

In his List A career, he has 31 wickets in 22 matches with an economy rate of 5.33 and an average of 24.93. Since his success in 2018, Shepherd has continued to impress and only time will tell if he extends his success when he wears the maroon colour.