Nov 26, 2015 Sports
Has an appetite for runs & Sweet Potato and roast chicken
By Sean Devers
Many are called but few are chosen. But for 26-year-old Guyanese left-hander Vishaul Singh although it’s all up to the West Indies selectors if his dream of playing for the West Indies Test team is to be fulfilled, he intends
to have a say by letting his bat do the talking.
The Guyana Vice-Captain sits at the top of the runs aggregate after three rounds in the WICB PCL First-Class Franchise this season with 343 runs at an average of 85.75. The diminutive Singh is the only batsman with 300 and two centuries.
“My goal is to score as much runs as possible this season. When the tournament began, my goal was 700 runs and to play a meaningful role in helping Guyana to retain the title. I won’t put a time frame on how far I am away from Test cricket but if I am to be selected in the near future I know that will only happen if I continue to score heavily at the Regional level and make a case for myself,” the level-headed Singh said.
He credits Guyana’s success over the last two seasons to two main factors. The players in the Jaguars squad being arguably the best prepaid of all the teams and the maturity of the players.
“The squad has now matured with the average age being 27 with Shiv’s (Chanderpaul) experience being beneficial to everyone plus we are playing as team, we are comfortable with each other,” The GCC batsman explained.
Singh says while the pitch at Providence is difficult to score quickly on if you adapt to the surface and be patient you should be successful.
“Because it (pitch) is low and slow, it’s not the type of pitch that you could score a hundred in a session but if you are patient and don’t fight the pitch you will get runs at Providence.”
All of Guyana’s matches for this season have been played at Providence where Singh registered back-to-back tons against the Leewards and Barbados to help the Jaguars to three wins and a top of the table 53 points.
His 150 in the second round has been the best of his three First-Class tons in his 24 games at this level but Singh, who has batted with confidence and fluency this season, says his most memorable match was his maiden century against T&T’s Red Force in Port-of-Spain last year in his second game as Captain.
In Singh’s debut as Captain he displayed good leadership qualities as Guyana dominated Barbados at Providence for three days before, with 69 required to win on the final day, Guyana fell for their third lowest total to lose by two runs as Singh made an inauspicious start as Guyana Skipper.
“I would rather not remember that game,” Singh, who celebrates his 27th birthday on January 12 during the Regional Super50 tournament in T&T, disclosed with a chuckle.
Vishaul was born in 1989 to Hardat ‘Pepe’ Singh and Nalini Singh and lived all of his life in Alexander Village in Greater Georgetown until he recently moved to his own home in Atlantic Gardens on the East of Demerara when got married this year to Trisha Singh.
The former Stella Marris Primary and St Roses Secondary student who also attended Saints Stanislaus College to write his CAPE exams said he was born into cricket since his dad was a leg-spinner who played at the first division level for City side GYO where Vishaul began his career as an eight-year-old.
“When I was about eight, I was picked for GYO against a Lawyers team after the GYO team was short of players,” said Vishaul, who gained four 1s, two 2s and a three when he wrote the CXC exams.
This writer first saw little Vishaul when I played a season for GYO in 1994 when he would come to practice with his dad and would not remain in one place for too long. At that time he was as tall as the wicket. In 21 years since then he has not grown much past that height and now stands at 5 ft, 5 inches.
But don’t let his size fool you since his well timed strokes, especially his favorite cut shot, reaches the boundary a fast as most other batsmen. In club cricket he hits some big sixes although he rarely takes those risks at First-Class level.
“I joined GCC at 10 after I played a game for East Bank U-15 against GCC and Harold ‘doc’ Dhanraj asked dad for me to join GCC to get more opportunities than at GYO,” said Singh and his cricket took off.
Vishaul made the Guyana U-15 team in 2004 before scoring his only U-19 century (121 v Leewards in St Kitts) in his only year at the under-19 level three years later when he played with his present team mates Rajendra Chandrika, Veerasammy Permaul and Steven Jacobs who led the team to the 2007 title.
His first-class debut came in 2009 against Barbados at Providence and although he has five fifties, his first ton came last year. He has added two more this year as he continues to enjoy a purple patch of form which he attributes to hard work and a burning desire to do well for Guyana.
His cuts, drives and excellent use of his feet to the spinners has been a joy to watch for the young man who claims to be a great cook and whose favorite dish is sweet potato and pot roast chicken.
Vishaul’s hobbies are cricket, football and reading while when not involved with cricket (which is becoming much less these days) he enjoys ‘hanging’ with his friends.
According to Vishaul, his time spent playing in England (2008-2011) helped him to be more responsible with his shot selection and learn to play the ball later due to the soft pitches. “As the Pro you were expected to make runs most of the runs,” said Singh whose favorite cricketer is Brain Lara because of his left-handedness and style.
Singh, who says because he has a central contract he will not be going to England next season, adding that while he does not have a preference regarding playing pace or spin he feels he is more dominant against spin.
Vishaul first saw his wife in a pageant about five years ago and got her contacts from a friend, but says Trisha ignored him for about four months before responding. The couple got married this year.
Vishaul says if he was not a cricketer he would have been an IT technician (he studied IT in school) and explained that he got his nickname ‘Cheezy’ from former GYO batsman Arun Dhallo, who was at that time 14 years older than him.
“I was about eight and there was this song with sometime about Cheezy in it and Dhallo would sing it. The nickname Cheezy got left on me,” the correct looking batsman concluded.
Under his helmet he could be mistaken for an Under-17 batsman, but when he smashes the Region’s leading pacers like a bullet to the boundary you quickly realise that this is no little boy but an established First-Class batsman, who if he continues to score ‘runs’ should not be too far away from joining the list of those from Guyana to play Test cricket.
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