Youth in Focus: It’s important to balance academics & Sports…
Says national U-15 Cricketer Darshan Persaud
By Sean Devers
National under-15 Opening batsman Darshan Akshay Persaud lives for cricket and travels from Helena, Mahaica to the Everest ground in the City almost every day to train or practice… even when it rains.
The 14-year-old left-handed batsman bowls right-arm leg-spin and made his debut for Guyana in the 2013 Regional under-15 two-day tournament against the Leeward Islands in Jamaica last August and although he has not yet set the place on fire with his elegant stroke-play, his obvious talent suggests that a maiden youth ton should not be too far off.
The versatile teenager represents Mae’s Secondary School in Football and the third former has visions of becoming a Test player for the West Indies team and an Engineer like his father, 50-year-old Latchman Persaud, who was forced to curtail his cricket career due to studies in England due to a lack of finance at the time.
The elder Persaud, who is married to Rohini Persaud, is the father of four sons (Darshan Yeudistir, Dhanesh and Varun) and can now afford to provide his son a private School education and drop him in his car to cricket practice.
The entire family including his mother is present almost every day at the Everest ground after school to watch her son play cricket.
“I got interested in cricket because of my dad and I get the support of the entire family although they constantly remind me of the importance of Academics for when my career in the sport is over or if I get injured and can no longer play,” Darshan disclosed.
“Even if you want to make sports a career you have to do your best at school in order to get sporting scholarships, since a good educational background is most times required,” the teenager added.
“I do 10 subjects, five per day, and my favorite subjects are Science and English. When I was in form one, we played cricket at school but now we only have a Football team. I also love Football but not as much as cricket and it was a dream come true for me to get picked to play for Guyana this year,” Darshan informed.
The Opener who batted at number four for Guyana, explained that two weeks after the Regional under-15 tournament, a Camp for the Guyana team along with Trinidad and Tobago, the Leewards and Antigua was organised by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and sponsored by Sandals was held. Another similar Camp was held at the same time in St Lucia.
“My most memorable match was when we (Guy) beat Trinidad (and Tobago) in Antigua. I took four wickets after not bowling in Jamaica and also made 25. I think we played our best team cricket in that match,” the Everest first division player said.
His favorite cricketer is Ricky Ponting and not surprisingly, his favorite West Indies player is Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who also hails from Mahaica.
His brother, 11-year-old Yeudistir, is the wicket- Keeper for the Everest under-13 and U-15 teams. Darshan enjoys watching Action movies, Comedies, Indian Movies and Sports on Television.
“I don’t really train in the mornings since I have to wake up before six-o-clock to get ready for school but I try to practice every afternoon after school. My advice to youths is to make an effort to balance your education and Sports because there is life after Sports and not everyone will become great,” Darshan pointed out.
For now he is trying to do just that and hopefully becomes one of those Sportsmen who attain greatness.
He is certainly not short of motivation! Chanderpaul, Colin Croft, Indomattie Gordial (female team) and Ganesh Singh (Blind team) all come from Mahaica and have all played for the West Indies, while Former President of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) Chetram Singh and former President of Guyana Bharrat Jagdeo also hail from Unity.