Exciting Barbados cricketer Nicholas Kirton is working towards that big break of being contracted to play for the West Indies senior men’s team.
The 22-year-old Kirton who is contracted with Barbados Pride and was selected for the first time last year to represent his country in the NAGICO Regional Super 50 believes it is a step in the right direction.
In fact, a place in the Barbados team where he plays and features among some of the biggest names in West Indies cricket should be enough for a call-up in three to four years. This is provided he continues to perform at the regional level.
“I always had this thing in my head that I want to play for the West Indies at 24, 25, 26 probably the latest. But as I get older I realise that at 24, I probably as a batsman have not reached my prime yet in terms of cricket and knowing my own game.
“I am just trying to take it one step at a time. The first step is to cement my place in the national side. As I said, that was my first time playing for Barbados and I did not have the best of tournaments or at least what I would have wanted but it was not a bad tournament.
“It is just a matter of making sure I could maintain my spot and perform at that level for Barbados over the next couple of years. Hopefully, that would lead to being selected for the West Indies by the time I turn 25 or 26,” he said.
A former Barbados and West Indies youth captain, Kirton made history when he became the youngest player to captain University of the West Indies to the Barbados Cricket Association T20 championship in 2017. He also previously played for the Combined Campuses and Colleges team.
Kirton considers himself an all-rounder but explained that a lot of people don’t class him as such. Going forward he is hoping that people would see his potential more so as an all-rounder instead of just a talented batsman.
“Honestly when I look back, joining UWI is the best decision I made because coming out of regional Under-19, I captained Barbados my final Under-19 year. So, after that, it was a decision I had to make in terms of what club I was going to play for and then I got offered a scholarship to go to UWI. At that point in time, I am glad that I did accept the scholarship to play for UWI. In the space of the last four years I believe that my cricket has developed a lot more than if I was in a different setup,” Kirton said.
He added: “I do see myself as an all-rounder and moving forward I want a lot more people to see me as an all-rounder as well.”
Last year Kirton caught several big breaks in cricket when he played for the Canadian national side, then travelled with the West Indies team to Dubai for the T20 World Cup qualifier and then joined the Barbados Pride for the first time to play in the NAGICO Super 50.
This year with the Coronavirus pandemic, Kirton was unable to compete and fulfill his plans of a much better performance in 2020. But that he noted will not stop him from working hard and keeping in shape just in case cricket is played sometime later this year.
“This year my aim was to improve from last year having been selected for the Barbados team to play in the Super 50 tournament. So it was just a matter of improving from there because it felt like I was batting well. I had a specific training routine that I was actually practising during the summer which led up to me being selected for that tournament.
“It was just a matter of me continuing that but obviously unfortunately without the facility being available, I couldn’t do that. So it is just actually this week that I started back practising. But my plans moving forward haven’t really changed. It is just a matter of ensuring that I am still cricket-fit. No matter how much you work out or do stuff at home or go running, it is not the same thing as actually being on the field.
“So just getting cricket-fit with possible tournaments later in the year maybe like Super 50 and even club cricket playing for UWI (University of the West Indies), it doesn’t matter, I will make sure I am ready when that time comes,” said the hard-hitting middle-order batsman.
For the remainder of the year, Kirton intends to work a lot more on his game especially since training recommenced this week after a long three months lockdown because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Kirton currently trains at Kensington Oval early in the morning and utilises the Sir Garfield Sobers Training Centre based at the University of the West Indies on evenings.
As he continues to improve on his game, Kirton plans to focus more on doing drills to assist in his development especially where batting is concerned.
“Doing drills especially, because I find that drills are very important in my batting. Like last year I focused a lot more on drills and I find that it made a huge difference. So this month going forward I would concentrate more on drills specifically and take it step by step from there. Then I would re-evaluate at the end of the month.”