- Attacking batsman sees ILT20 as stepping stone for good year with West Indies national team
Sharjah, December 21: The destructive West Indies opening batsman Evin Lewis does not believe in planning too ahead into his future, and the only target in his sights is putting up a good show for Sharjah Warriors at the inaugural International League T20 (ILT20) tournament. That can only mean sixes and boundaries raining in the UAE’s flagship short-format competition which will be held from January 13 to February 12.
His reputation precedes him as the only batsman after compatriot Chris Gayle and New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum to score two centuries in T20s.
The left-handed opener took time off to address a few questions as fans look forward to the southpaw taking the Sharjah Cricket Stadium by storm.
You are only among three players to have scored two T20 centuries. And that too against India, who have one of the best bowling attacks.How do you plan your innings?
To be honest, I just play my natural game; just be in the right frame of mind. I don’t try to analyse or study a bowler too much and go into too many details. At the end of the day, a half volley is a half volley or a short ball is a short ball. I don’t try to play on a name too much; just play my cricket. I know what I can do and I back my strengths.
You have a reputation as an attacking batsman and Sharjah gives the impression of a smaller ground. Can Sharjah Warriors fans expect you to pepper spray plenty of sixes when you bat at the home base –the Sharjah Cricket Stadium?
That is actually something I am looking forward to it.The ground may look small and it is important not to get carried away in the moment while batting. Also one must realise that in grounds such as Sharjah, Abu Dhabi or even Dubai, the pitches are great for batting.
The T20 leagues means more opportunities for players in world cricket. How do you see the ILT20 in that context?
It is good for every player. Franchise leagues are there and at times at the same time. There is the ILT20, the South Africa League, Caribbean Premier League which just finished and then there is Big Bash before the Indian Premier League. There are plenty of good options, and yet international cricket is what the player yearns for and cherishes the most. Ultimately a player like me should choose his pick of franchise cricket and see where it works for him to play for the country. And I see the ILT20 in that context as far as I am concerned. The UAE is a great place to be, in any case.
On paper how do you rate the composition of Sharjah Warriors squad members and the team leadership?
I think we have a great side. There are good batsmen at the top, batsmen in the middle and good finishers towards the tail. And we got some pretty decent bowlers – there are spinners as well as in the fast bowling department. So I think we definitely have a good team that can give others a good run for their money.
The new year starts with the ILT20 for you. What are your goals in the short-term future, and do you see Sharjah Warriors as a stepping stone towards those plans?
I am not the type to plan ahead. Even on the pitch, I might have scored 60, 70 or even 100 but the next game is a new beginning for me. Likewise I don’t try to plan too much ahead, but definitely I am looking forward to starting this innings with Sharjah Warriors.
West Indies are the only one team to win the T20 World Cup twice and were considered good in the format until recently. What could be the reason?
I don’t think it is possible to go deep into it, but I would say that we just have not been lucky at times especially in the past two World Cups.
You have been away from the ODI squad for more than a year, and 2023 is the World Cup year while opportunities for WI are relatively less. What are your plans in this regard?
As I said earlier, I don’t like to think too far ahead. I just need to play in tournaments like ILT20 or franchise cricket to keep doing what I enjoy and fix a few things here and there. It is the first season of ILT20 so cannot say much about what to expect, except to go out and win. We just have to play right cricket at the right time and just focus on the execution of it.