What little Rivaldo Clarke lacks in height, he certainly makes up in ability.
This 11-year-old is an up-and-coming cricket star. Darren Sammy needs to beware because in an interview recently with Barbados TODAY the youngster adamantly stated that he was gunning for his job as captain of the West Indies senior squad. And it seems that he will get a shot as a player or at the captaincy sooner than later because he is seemingly not easing up on his game.
Clarke is the captain of the ten-time National Sports Council/ Guardian General Herman Griffith cricket champions, Wesley Hall Primary School. This young man is making waves and has already begun to set records by being the youngest player at age ten, and the only primary school student to make the Barbados under-13 cricket squad.
The very reserved boy said that from early, in fact from the tender age of three, cricket was his favourite sport and he knew his future was to wear the maroon colours of the Windies team. Residing in the rural community of Poolrisk Land in St John, he said he had some knowledge of how to hold a cricket bat, how to catch the ball and a little of how to bowl, but in most instances pelt, he said while laughing.
Further reminiscing, the lad said it was only through his cousin and national player Ashley Nurse, that he really got the chance to live his dream. Along with his parents, Nurse spent a lot of time advising, assisting and working with him to improve his craft. And as the old adage states: “The rest is history.”
In 2012, at the Herman Griffith Primary School Cricket Final thousands of Barbadians were allowed to truly capture some of this all-rounder’s talent. It was back then playing at the Empire Cricket Ground in Bank Hall, St Michael against Bayley’s Primary that Clarke, then nine years old, led a vigorous resurgence by the Wesley Hall school to win their ninth title.
Wesley Hall batted first but ran into some early trouble as they lost five cheap wickets for a mere 60-odd runs. But then the cool and calm youngster walked to the crease for the King Street, St Michael school. With bat confidently embraced, showing application and skill of someone three-times his age, he guided his team, and partner in the recovery, Kemar Chase, to their eventual total of 135 for 5 in their 25 allotted overs.
Then through some tight bowling and inspired fielding, Wesley Hall restricted the powerful Bayley’s line-up to 105 for 8 in their allotment of overs to win by 30 runs.
The following year, not only did Rivaldo again captain the winning Wesley Hall team, but in the process, became the first captain in the history of the competition to win back to back titles. He was also named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament bagging 457 runs and taking 16 wickets, snaring four catches and making four stumpings. At the 31st annual National Sports Awards ceremony last month he was rewarded with a Youth Award.
On his future, the youngster admitted that as he heads off to secondary school next September he may develop other interests but he said one thing was for sure he was determined to continue in the sport.
“It is entertaining, you make a lot of money [and] I just like playing it,” he said.