This week we spoke to Shamar Springer, a young man who endeared himself to regional and international cricket fans during the 2016 ICC Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh, both with his cricketing skills as well as his nifty dance moves.
Creator of the now universally dubbed “Springer chest roll”, the talented teen played six matches during the West Indies successful campaign, scoring 285 runs at an average of 57 with 106 his highest score. He also captured seven wickets at an average of 23.47.
The lanky six-footer who considers himself a batting all-rounder, is presently pursuing studies in Business Management, Economics and Caribbean Studies at Combermere, and is a lover of spare ribs. This is what Shamar had to say when Sporting World caught up with him.
Sum up the experience at the ICC World Cup.
It was a great experience being on foreign soil playing against the best cricketers in the world at the U19 level. I looked at it as a good chance to see where I am at.
How would you describe yourself as a player and how did it feel to do so well with the bat?
I would say I am more batting all-rounder than a bowling all-rounder. I developed my batting skills at around 15…when I first started I was actually predominantly a bowler. So my batting really came on when I was around Mr Estwick. He taught me everything I know right now. It was a great feeling to be able to assist my team in the semifinals.
Did any one moment really stand out for you?
The feeling after we won the semifinal… the final as well. I really can’t explain it because I never felt that way before… to make so many people in the region and at home happy and to be so happy myself. We always knew we could have done it…and then we did it!
What was going on in your head during the final?
From the start we restricted India to 145. Having chased more than that in the previous game, we thought at that point it would have been a comfortable victory, but in the end it wasn’t that. The balls and runs really came down close at the end. When we first started our innings we were comfortable. But things went slightly downhill a bit because the pressure was building. Then Kemo and Kacey hit couple boundaries and the momentum switched back to us. I think we needed 4 runs off the last over and at that moment I knew we would have won it.
How did you get into cricket and how did you get here?
When I was about six I used to do taekwondo, I played drums, but I wasn’t really a fan of those things, I was a Cub Scout as well. I saw the guys practising one evening after (primary) school, I went to Wilkie Cumberbatch, and I decided I wanted to play. On weekends or as often as I could I would go in the park and play cricket. I really took any chance to play I could. We would play in the house, my parents, my uncles, and from there it just grew.
I enjoyed football…but I knew I am not as good at it and there isn’t as much opportunity for me to be as successful so I chose to focus on cricket.
What is training like for you and what do you focus on?
I train three or four times a week. I don’t train on Fridays. In training I just try to focus on hitting the ball as simple as that sounds. When I am in form and I am hitting the ball it is kind of hard for me to play certain shots because I would like to hit every ball and I know sometimes that is my downfall. So in training I focus on just hitting the ball and keeping the form as long as possible. Same applies for bowling, I just try to hit that one spot.
Take us through what you are trying to do when you bowl.
I would say start well…my coach always tells me once I start well more than likely I will finish well. So during my first spell I really focus on going for as little runs as possible so at the end when balls are flying at the end I can just concentrate on being consistent.
If you could pick one person that was instrumental to your development who would it be?
Would have to be my three main coaches, Mr Estwick, Mr Collymore, and Mr Drakes. They keep telling me the same things – stay humble, remain positive and just be a nice person.
Off the field did anything stand out?
Well I had never seen so many guns in my life, swarms of policemen. Also I never played in front of so many people, the crowds were all very interested and they all just made me feel like a star.
With such a huge accolade already achieved what are your plans for the future?
The main thing is to remain humble, positive and continue to train hard to make the Barbados senior team and from there see if I have a chance at the Windies.
How hard is it to balance everything?
I was into good habits from very young. Around 13 when I went to Combermere I would train with the U15s two days a week and the senior boys the other two so I have always been accustomed to the pace. So things haven’t really changed. The principal says you should study at least three to four hours a day, but for me…to be honest I get in an hour and half and it has been fine for me.
Do you have any advice for the younger guys?
To always be a nice person…it’s always a good feeling to be a good impact on someone else. Stay humble and train hard.
We take this opportunity to wish Shamar all the best in the Caribbean Premier League where he will be representing the Tridents.