Barbadian Shamarh Brooks is hoping he will get the opportunity to make his Test debut against India in the two-match series that starts in Antigua on August 22.
Earlier this year, Brooks was included in the West Indies squad for the first time for the three-match Test series against England but never made it into the final eleven for any of the Tests. He is hoping good fortune smiles on him this second time around.
“This is the second time I have been included in the squad, the first occasion was against England earlier this year. We were victorious in that series winning it two Tests to one. I did not get the opportunity to play but being around the set-up and observing how the guys go about their business was interesting. It was good that the West Indies won that series. I hope the boys will go into the upcoming series with the same camaraderie as the last one, execute our plans and be successful again,” Brooks told Barbados TODAY on the eve of his departure for a training camp which starts in Antigua tomorrow.
He described his inclusion in the West Indies squad as an eye-opener that allowed him the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the better players in the world.
“It was a learning experience being in the West Indies’ dressing room with our captain Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Kemar Roach and the rest of the guys who have done well at the Test and international level. I had the opportunity to interact with some of the England payers as well. l chatted with Joe Root about how he goes about preparing himself for Test cricket and his reply will stay with me forever. He stressed the importance of being mentally strong impressed upon me that regardless of the level of cricket, the ball is still five and half ounces, and I would have done what is necessary to get to this level of cricket. He advised me to have confidence in myself and trust the process that brought me to this stage so far. These words will stay with me forever,” Brooks said.
The stylish right-handed batsman and part-time leg-spinner stated that if selected it would be important for him to get a good start but what was even more important for him was to enjoy the game.
“If I am given the opportunity to play, it will be important to get a good start. I will be the new kid on the block, therefore I will be under close scrutiny because the bowlers will be trying to work out any deficiencies in my batting. Be that as it may, I think if I am selected it will be very important for me to enjoy the cricket like I have been doing for the past five years,” Brooks said.
Brooks, a former West Indies Under-19 captain, was seen as a cricketing prodigy after making his first-class debut against Guyana at the age of 17 in 2007. But despite his elegant strokeplay Brooks’ production with the bat was modest and he was constantly in and out of the Barbados team.
After scoring a paltry 76 runs in five first-class matches at 8.44 in 2012, he was dropped from the national team for two years. Brooks returned to the team in 2014 and scored his maiden first-class century. Since then he has compiled 3091 runs including five centuries and 20 half-centuries at 38.63.
“I guess in the earlier part of my career I did not fully understand my true potential. Being out of the Barbados setup for a couple of years made a big difference. I would admit now that during those years, I lost my love for the game. But since I have returned to first-class cricket playing for Barbados and the West Indies ‘A’ team, I have found back that love and am very passionate about the game again. My passion and love for cricket will stay with me until I decide to stop playing cricket for my country and the region,” the 30-year-old Barbados and West Indies ‘A’ team skipper said.
He admitted to not making long-term plans in relation to being a member of the West Indies squad.
“I have not looked far down the road, I am taking it year by year. My goal first is to stay in the West Indies squad until the end of year. I believe there is one more tour for the Test team which I think is a one-off Test against Afghanistan in India later this year. My aim is if I get the opportunity to play in that Test is to do well and end the year on a high note for the region,” he said.