Barbados opener Zachary McCaskie is excited about the opportunity granted to him to play for Middlesex County Cricket Club. The county commenced on April 12 and ends in September.
The 24-year-old right-handed batsman said his chance was made possible thanks to former legendary West Indies opening batsman Desmond Haynes and the Barbados Cricket Association vice-president Calvin Hope.
The elated former Christ Church Foundation student who has played two seasons for Barbados explained what it meant to him.
“My performances have to be up to a particular standard for the county to be fully interested in me. So, I have to ensure I help them however I can and that is the best way for me to elevate.
Also finding ways to benefit the team, finding ways of helping the team in whichever situation is necessary,” McCaskie told Barbados TODAY.
McCaskie, who is the holder of a British passport through his father Anthony McCaskie, said while he is following a similar path to that of former Christ Church Foundation schoolmate and England fast bowler Jofra Archer, his heart is total with West Indies cricket.
“When Jofra left to go England, he would have played for Sussex and that would have been the opening for him going on to play cricket for England and the exposure he pretty much has now.
But I would love to represent the West Indies. For now, it is just a matter of me staying in the moment and using the opportunities I get to the best of my ability. So, West Indies is the main goal for me because I would have played for Barbados in the regional Super50 just gone and the one in front,” he said.
McCaskie added: “For me, it is just being a professional cricketer and being able to help which team I play for and whoever selects me. It is just a matter of giving my best.”
McCaskie who played club cricket for Wildey noted that his dedication and commitment to the game has helped him.
He also said that working with former West Indies players such as Haynes and Vasbert Drakes has been wonderful.
“I was at the Oval a few times doing someone on ones with Desmond Haynes and Vasbert Drakes. We would have been doing some practice sessions.
Desmond Haynes was interested in what he saw and thought that I was good enough. So, Mr Haynes sought out Angus Fraser (managing director of Middlesex) and he would have played cricket with Angus when he was at Middlesex. Mr Fraser then said he would be interested in taking me on for a few months,”
As to what it is like being tutored by Haynes who along with Sir Gordon Greenidge was considered the finest opening pair in West Indies cricket history, McCaskie summed it up by saying it has been a great experience.
“It is a great experience working with somebody as great as Desmond Haynes.
One thing he mainly instilled in me was reassurance that ‘you are good enough to do this. You are good enough to play your game and it is a matter of building self-confidence and believes in my game most of all.
“He was very supportive. It wasn’t a case of don’t do this, don’t do that and a lot of critiquing. What he usually said was that you are going to fail more than you are going to succeed.
So that is something he told me don’t stress about your failures, make sure that when you do well, you do really well because those are going to make up for the times you do badly. It is also a matter of being confident. Don’t second guess yourself and just play your natural game,” McCaskie stated.
This is not his first time playing in England and McCaskie intends on using his experience to make a difference for Middlesex.
He has so far played for Coggeshall Town County, Hampshire and Nottinghamshire second teams, Kendall County, Durham Academy, Peterlee County and Northern University.
McCaskie has several role models in cricket. He named Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Steve Smith, Shai Hope, Jofra Archer, Kraigg Brathwaite and Carlos Brathwaite as just some of the people he looked up to.
“Those are guys I pay attention to their cricket. I try to model myself after a lot of the batsmen in the world. Not just one batsman. I try to pick different things from different batsmen,” McCaskie said.
Hoping to one day make a name for himself in the sport, McCaskie revealed what keeps him grounded. “My family but mostly God for giving me that level-mindedness.
Being able to stay focused and another reassurance that it is a possibility I could get a break within a year. The love for the game as well and also Jofra’s story,” he said.