By Sean Devers
Thirty year-old Berbice, Guyana and West Indies left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul is one wicket away from taking 50 or more wickets in a single Regional First-Class season for the third time.
In the 2015 season when Guyana Jaguars began their five-year winning streak, the Albion spinner captured 67 wickets, the most ever taken in a season and with three games to play, including today’s day/night match, the wily Permaul is well positioned to break his own record.
In 120 First-Class matches, Permaul has taken 535 wickets including 18 from his six Test matches and this season he joined fellow spinners Nickita Miller of Jamaica and Dominican Shane Shillingford as the only bowlers with 500 First-Class wickets in Regional cricket.
Permaul, who also eight wickets from seven ODIs, made his First-Class debut when he took over from Neil McGarrell in January 2007 when Guyana opposed the Windwards in Grenada.
He has 29 five-wicket and seven 10-wicket match hauls including 15-77 against Jamaica in Jamaica this season when he captured a career best 8-18 in the second innings to spin the Jaguars to victory in three days.
Permaul made his Test debut against Bangladesh in Dhaka in November 2012 as the second spinner to Sunil Narine and his four wickets helped West Indies to a win.
But despite his consistency at Regional level he played the last of his six Tests against Australia in June 2015.
During Guyana’s five-year winning streak Permaul was Guyana’s leading wicket taker every season. “I not looking too far ahead at this time trying to get as many wickets as I can in every game…not looking too far ahead and put too much pressure on myself just go out and play normal cricket that I am playing all the time,” said Permaul after a net session yesterday when asked about breaking his own record this season.
He feels that most batsmen in regional cricket gets frustrated if they have to face a succession of dot balls.
“I think I am successful in Regional cricket because I consistently put the ball in an area. I think patience is the key in Regional Cricket. If you bowl six balls in a particular area something is bound to happen,” Permaul explained for one of the reasons his repeated success in Regional cricket.
Devon Smith was rewarded for making the most runs a few seasons ago with a West Indies recall, but while he would love to be selected again for a Test match his focus is on churning out wickets at the Regional level and since getting back into the West Indies team is not in his control.
“I don’t want to look too far ahead. I can only do what I can control …. doing my best in Regional cricket is what I can control, being recalled for the West Indies team is beyond my control at this time.”
After taking 37 wickets for Guyana in the 2012 season, he was selected for his Test debut. He failed to set the world on fire in his short International Career and was dropped after the ODI at Providence against Pakistan in 2017.
Spin bowlers generally takes the longest time to mature and Permaul said he has learnt a lot during the five years away from the Test arena.
“I think it is the same thing (patience and consistency) apply to Test cricket …to be patient…be consistent in hitting the right areas. In the six Test matches I play I wasn’t so consistent and that patient. Over the years I have learnt a lot and I am more patient now,” Permaul said.
One of five players from Albion to play Test cricket, Permaul could play a key role in today’s must win game against Barbados.
“I think we have to give ourselves the best opportunity. I think we are still in with a chance but have to get as much points against Barbados in the game starting tomorrow (today) and take it from there,” concluded Permaul.
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