Sharmarh Brooks intends to play every Test match as if it is his last.
The 31-year- old elegant right-handed batsman made his Test debut against India in the first Test of the two-match series at North Sound, Antigua, in August this year.
He compiled 63 runs from four innings at the modest average of 15.75. After scoring a duck in the first innings of the second Test, Brooks top-scored with 50 out of the West Indies total of 210 in the second innings.
“I am taking it series by series, our next Test series is against Afghanistan. I will play every Test match as if it is my last. It is my intention to give my best to the West Indies at all times but most of all, I am planning to just enjoy my cricket at this stage. I am going to do my utmost best to stay fit, keep working hard and try to improve my cricket,” Brooks told Barbados TODAY.
Brooks described his debut Test series as a decent one in terms of his state of mind and said the bout of nerves he had anticipated on his Test debut never materialised.
“ I thought I would have been a lot more nervous, but I did not feel nervous at all. I guess once I got into the middle and the bat touch the ball for the first time those nerves were settled and I was ready to play cricket,” Brooks explained.
“My first three innings were nothing to shout about. I got a half-century in the second innings of the second Test, I am hoping to move from strength to strength with my batting. I have a bit of down time at the moment, I am looking forward to the regional Super50 tournament which starts in November and the one off Test match against Afghanistan later in that month. I am hoping to have an impact in the Test match against Afghanistan,” Brooks said.
The Barbados captain said it was an overwhelming moment when former West Indies captain and legendary batsman Sir Vivian Richards presented him with his cap on the first morning of the first Test.
“It is the desire of every youngster to play for the West Indies. To achieve my dream and to have my cap presented to me by Sir Vivian Richards, one of the greatest batsmen to ever play the game, was a tremendous honour. I had a fantastic feeling when he give me my cap, it is a moment I will treasure for the rest of my life,” Brooks said.
The stylish batsman almost did not get the chance to score his half-century. He was caught early in his innings at slip off a ball that lifted sharply from left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja.
“To be fair it was a good ball, so I was not too down-spirited because I did not give my hand away, it was the kind of ball that would have dismissed most batsmen. Eventually, I gave my hand away in the end when I was run out by a direct hit from Virat Kohli at silly point. Even though we were not in a position to win the match, the situation demanded that a batsman stood up and put some runs on the scoreboard. I really applied myself and reached the milestone of scoring a half- century. Even though it was a modest score of 50 it whet my appetite and created a hunger to score more Test runs,” Brooks said.
Brooks who is regarded by fans as a batsman who relies on timing rather than power, said he had no problem in playing the shorter formats of the game. He had modest returns for the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League, but scored a stroke-filled 53 against the Barbados Tridents at Kensington Oval.
“Being a red ball cricketer gives a batsman more time to set up his game. Even though Twenty20 cricket is the shorter format of the game, twenty overs are still a lot of overs. If a batsman is given the opportunity to bat among the first three batsmen, he has the opportunity to set up his innings. Carlos (Brathwaite) gave me the opportunity to bat early in the match against the Tridents and I took it with both hands. The match was played at Kensington Oval which is home for me, I just love playing there, in addition I was batting against several players whom I have played with and against – Jason (Holder), Hayden Walsh who had a stint with Barbados Pride, Raymon Reifer and young Chemar Holder. It was a good opportunity for me to showcase my talent in the Twenty20 tournament,” Brooks said.
He stated that it his dream to play a Test match at Kensington Oval. “Even when I walk down the steps during a first class match, it is a grand occasion. To wear the maroon cap coming down those steps would be a great moment for me,”.
Brooks said as a boy growing up in Holders Hill, St James, Desmond Haynes the legendary Barbados and West Indies opener was a childhood hero and one of his early mentors but he was a big admirer of Carl Hooper.
“I know a lot of people are going to be upset with me for saying this, but I was a big Carl Hooper fan. I was always impressed with his elegant strokeplay and his languid movements on the field. I know his record does not suggest he was a great player like others before him but I enjoyed his style of play,” said Brooks who will be getting married tomorrow to one of the daughters of the late Prime Minister David Thompson.
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