By Sa’adi Thawfeeq
Debutant left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican said words of wisdom and encouragement from cricketing legend Sir Garry Sobers inspired him to take four wickets on his Test debut on the opening day of the second Test against Sri Lanka at the P Sara Oval.
It was Sir Garry who presented Warrican with his Test cap prior to the start of play.
“The one thing that stuck in my mind of what he said was that, ‘You have many games to come’ and he expected great things for me,” said Warrican. “It felt special for a great man that those things came out of his mouth. It really warmed my heart – that’s the truth.”
Apart from that little conversation he had with the great man Warrican said, “To be honest Sir Garry has been coming from Barbados so he has been talking to the Barbados team during the first-class season. I’m accustomed to him talking to the guys and talking to me personally – even coming to the net session and having one-on-ones with me.
“He also gave me some advice and helped me on some different skills when I was playing for Barbados. Even in his talking with the West Indies team reminds you, “I’ve got to do this; I’ve got to do that” and remember that you’ve got to stick to your basics and not complicate stuff.”
For a 23-year-old bowler Warrican didn’t have the best of starts to his Test career being hit for four the first ball he bowled.
“When the captain said, ‘It’s your turn to bowl,’ I was excited, but at the same time, nervous. When I bowled the first ball and got hit for four, I thought, ‘Couldn’t start any worse than that’,” said Warrican.
“But then I thought, ‘That’s history. I can’t bring it back. I have to deal with the next ball – that’s the present.’ I told myself to look at it as a normal game, to do the same things I do in club cricket and got me where I am right now. That’s just to be focused, confident and concentrate on your discipline.”
However the highlight of the day Warrican said was not his bowling but the start the team got in the morning.
“In the first Test, the batsmen from Sri Lanka were all over us. To have Sri Lanka 40-odd for four was a major improvement for me, entering the team.”
In his opinion Warrican said that it won’t be any easy for the West Indies batsmen on this pitch.”
It’s going to be extremely difficult. We’ve really got to adapt to the situation and use our skills. Patience will be the key tomorrow,” said Warrican.
“Also we’ve got to stay positive as well, but have to be patient and selective. In light of Herath, it will be very important that we keep him out of the game as much as possible.”