May 19, 2015 Sports
By Sean Devers
In the agriculture setting of West Bank Demerara Village, Canal Number 2 on what
seemed to be a ‘never ending road’ I sat down in the home of recently appointed Guyana under-19 Captain Travis Persaud to find out who this youngster was on and off the cricket field.
The elegant right-handed batsman is the first ever player from West Demerara to Captain Guyana at any level, and comes from a family which loves cricket and not surprisingly I quickly found out that the 17-year-old lives for cricket.
Travis made his entry into this world on February 16, 1998 in Canal Number 2 and is the eldest of two sons born to Sudesh Persaud and Selena Ramrattan.
Travis led Demerara under-19s to victory in this year’s Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) under-19 Inter-County one-day Cricket tournament when they defeated the National under-17s in the Final at Everest but admitted that he was a bit surprised at being named Captain of the National U-19 side ahead of West Indies under-19 opener Shemron Hetmyer, who led Berbice in that tournament.
“Yes I was a bit surprised since Shemron has played for the West Indies (U-19s) but maybe because we (Demerara) won the 50-over competition and no Three-Day tournament will
be played in Jamaica this year in the Regional youth competition, I got the edge,” the stylish stroke player who now plays for City side Everest opined.
Travis made his National U-15 debut in 2012 Regional two-day tourney and scored a delightful 72 in the second innings to follow-up his 42 in the first innings against Trinidad & Tobago and when he was appointed Captain for the 2013 National U-17 team he became the only person, from the area that produced among others, First-Class player Rabindranauth Seeram, to Captain a Guyana Cricket team.
The batting all-rounder who bowls useful off-spin, again led the National U-17s the next year and his highest score in Regional U-17 cricket is 47 made against the Windward Islands.
He plays for his Village team Mc Gill Super Stars Sports Club, which is named after the McGillivery Primary School, a school attended by Travis and both of his parents.
The talented teenager played youth cricket for DCC before joining Everest just after writing nine CSEC subjects last year when he attended the St Joseph High School in Georgetown. “Last year was a tough year for me because I had to balance studies with cricket and when I began working at NICIL (Privatisation Unit) in Kingston I moved to Everest because that was close to where I worked,” Travis informed.
Travis, who is also eligible to play in next year’s Regional U-19 series, intends to do Economics at the University-of-Guyana (UG) when he is finished at the U-19 level and his parents instilled in him the importance participating in every school activity to build confidence.
At school Travis participated in Cricket, Table Tennis, Football, Athletics, Dancing and Debating and loves Music, watching action movies, Sports and Cartoons on TV.
Travis says he is very superstitious and always bat with money in his pocket and re-uses the same uniform if he makes runs.
“Many times I had to wash Travis’ cricket clothes in the nights when he came home from cricket because he wanted to play with same cloths the next day,” said his mom, who is also the Secretary of the West Demerara Cricket Association (WDCA) from the other end of their spacious one-flat house.
During the interview one got the impression that the family is a closely knit one and very proud of their eldest off-spring’s success on and off the field. His dad still plays for McGill at the second division level while his mom, a housewife, frequently does the scoring when her club team plays and is always present at her son’s games. His younger brother Troy played for DCC in Pee-Wee cricket. No wonder cricket runs in Travis’ blood.
Travis grew up in a home where the love of cricket was evident with bats, balls, trophies and cricket gear seen in almost every corner of the house. According to his mom, at age three Travis would try to hit a ball that was in a sock and tied on a string that his dad hung up for practice, with a bat larger than he was.
“It was his dad (now Coach of the West Demerara youth team) who actually taught him the basics in cricket,” his mom informed.
“From a very tender age, Travis would go and watch his dad play and started by scoring the Club’s score book like at the age of eight,” she added with a smile.
“He is fast learner and a good reader, and he would often read alot about cricket and when he can’t play on the field he plays stick cricket on the computer. He even talks in his sleep about cricket,” said his dad with a laugh.
Travis works hard on his cricket and practices at Everest on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday after work in addition to doing Push-Ups, Crunches and Skipping.
Travis’ favorite cricketer is AB DeVilliers because of his ability to score off every ball while he enjoys the cover drive. His favorite food is Bunjal Duck with Dholl and Rice.
He say his most memorable game was a West Dem second division encounter for McGill against Western United when he made an unbeaten 103 in an unfinished 248-run stand with Abdool Razzak who made 117 not out, while his most embarrassing game was in a 2013 for McGill Super Stars against Windsor Forest when he conceded 26 runs in an over in a t20 match and ended up in tears.
When you talk with the teen you quickly realise that he is just that, a teen.
The well spoken and very confident youngster says his biggest challenge is dealing with the Media and seeing what they say about him, especially after a bad game. But his dad tries to instill in his son the need to talk to the media now that he is National U-19 captain, especially when he goes to Jamaica and not worry too much about criticisms.
It was pleasing that his parents, who seem to be strict, pointed out that as a public figure Travis now has to pay more attention to not only how he plays but to what he says.
Travis is confident that based on their performances last year at U-17 level, this team should do well in the Regional U-19 tournament since almost everyone in the side have played together and should easily ‘gel’ since they know each other well.
“We (Guyana) should do well this year based on the team we have on paper especially since it is a one-day day tournament. We have three quality fast bowling all-rounders (Kemo Paul, Sherfane Rutherford & Renaldo Ali) who all play shots. We have a Keeper (Tevin Imlack) who is an opening batsman. We have Hetmyer, myself, Parmesh Parsotam, Balchand Baldeo, Nathan Persaud, Akshaya Persaud so the team is well balanced and two of the 16 will be dropped from the Inter-County team to go Jamaica,” Travis said.
The Guyana U-19 team will play in this year’s senior Inter-County tournament before they travel to Jamaica in July for the 2015 Regional 50-over U-19 cricket series.
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