By Sean Devers in Antigua
In association with Vnet Communications,
Bounty Farm, Noble House Seafoods &
Christopher Deon Barnwell is widely viewed one of most passionate, hard-working, talented and temperamental cricketers in Guyana.
The DCC all-rounder, who turned 31 on January 6, can set the place on fire like he did when he strolled into the West Indies T20 side in 2011 and was snapped up by Royal Challengers Bangalore for 2013 edition of the IPL.
On the other hand he could drive his fans into depression when he, like fellow Guyanese Carl Hooper, flatters to deceive like he has done in the past at the Regional level after dominating at the local level.
Barnwell’s supreme confident is sometimes mistaken for arrogance and depending which side of the fence you are, some would say he is a domestic bully who can only score runs in local cricket, while others will tell you that he is being unfairly treated by the National selectors.
It is either you love him or hate him. But one thing almost everyone agrees on is that Barnwell is one of the most naturally gifted Guyanese cricketers in the recent past.
On his return to the National team as a replacement for Raymon Reifer, for the first time since February last year, Barnwell grabbed the opportunity with both hands and has been one of the main reasons why the Jaguars have qualified for tonight’s semi-finals of the Regional Super50 Festival.
Barnwell at times can be hot headed and emotional, but he has batted with a maturity and level-headedness rarely seen from him.
He has 215 runs from six matches at an Average of 53.1 including two fifties and looks like the ‘old’ Barnwell who played six T20 matches for the West Indies between 2011 and 2013.
His magnificent 89 against the Hurricanes was his best innings even thought his lone First-Class century (148) was made against that same team.
His work with the ball has also been good with his best bowling figures being 4-35 from nine overs against the USA.
Barnwell, who has three fifties and a ton along with 70 wickets from 45 First-Class games, has already added US$300 to the Jaguars coffers from his two Man-of-the-Match Awards.
Things had gotten so bad for the Queenstown all-rounder that Reifer, Romario Shepherd and his DCC team mates, Kemo Paul and Sherfane Rutherford; both 19, were picked ahead of him for this tournament despite him scoring heavily for Georgetown in the semis and final of the CGI 50-over Franchise League.
“I had mix feelings, I was disappointed but I looked on the bright side of the situation that I would still have a chance to play in the tournament,” Barnwell informed.
Barnwell, with five fifties and 28 wickets from 41 games at this level explained why he felt he made an immediate impact since he got here and what he did different from previous times.
“I had a positive mind-set, playing situations and believing in my ability, that’s from a batting point of view and with the ball trying to hit my areas and use my skill. It’s a very good feeling to be back in the Guyana team and doing well.
Barnwell feels that becoming a father has helped him to be a more responsible person and that has transcended to his batting.
“Yeah becoming a father made me more responsible andI’m very confident that we could win the tournament but we just have to take it one step at a time,” said Barnwell, who was picked for Barbados Tridents for the last CPL.
When asked about his goal for this tournament and what were his chances of getting another IPL contract since ESPN is televising the games, Barnwell said that did not want get ahead of himself.
“I just want to keep performing for my team and the good performances will take care of what will happen in the future.
Looking ahead to where he wanted to be in the next two years, Barnwell disclosed that he wants to be still playing cricket at a high level and be a good role model for the youngsters coming up.
This tournament is sparking a new lease of life on his cricket career and while it could be his second coming, Barnwell remembers how it all began.
“My first game for DCC was an under-17 match at GYO in 2001. A lot of people don’t know that both sides of my family are involve in Sports.
My father and uncle (Chris & Deon) are former National footballers, while my uncle from my mother’s side is the late Andrew Lyght who played National cricket, so I was born in sports,” Barnwell revealed.
Lyght died in 2001 from Cancer at age 44. He played 38 First-Class games, scoring six tons and eight fifties and is the only Guyanese batsman to have scored a century at the Kensington Oval in Barbados not to play Test cricket.
“He (Lyght) was my motivation back then cause I always kept telling myself that I have to play for West Indies for him, cause he did not get that chance to play,” Barnwell explained.
“When I am not playing cricket I enjoy spending time with my family, playing football, going fishing and spending time at my Sport Store Leading Edge,” concluded Barnwell, who made his T20 debut in the 2008 Stanford tournament on tonight’s match venue.
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