By Sean Devers
When Kelvon Anderson made his GCB/CGI three-day Franchise debut for Lower Corentyne, he was just 16-years old but he batted with a maturity that belied his age.
His skill level, technique, temperament, maturity and his ability to consistently score runs are hallmarks of a good batsman and Anderson, born to Alex and Gail Anderson in Berbice, has them all.
When I first saw Anderson, about five years ago, batting for the then National Secondary Schools Champions, Lower Corentyne Secondary, my first thought was ‘this little boy could bat’. He reminded me of former West Indies U-19 Captains, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Leon Johnson at that age.
In 2013, a 13-year-old Anderson was named ‘Best Cricketer’ at the 16th annual Rose Hall Town Youth & Sports Club Awards Ceremony before making his U-15 Berbice debut a year later. He made the Berbice U-17 team the next year before making his Guyana debut at both U-17 and U-19 in 2017.
He was not selected on the West Indies Emerging players’ team for the 2019 Super50 in Trinidad last November.
The 19-year-old Anderson, one of eight siblings, including two girls, was one of two Guyanese in the West Indies team for the 2020 U-19 World Cup in South Africa which ended on February 9 when Bangladesh beat India in the final.
Anderson, who scored a century in the warm-up game, made 17 against Australia, a well compiled unbeaten 86 against England and 25 against Nigeria as West Indies won their first three games to finish top of their group and along with Australia qualified for the next stage.
In the super League quarter final Anderson made 33 in a losing cause against New Zealand and did not bat when West Indies reached 62-1 from 12 overs as rain washed out their fifth-place play-off against Australia. West Indies ended fifth after finishing with more points than Australia in the group stage.
“It was a dream come through I’ll say, playing at the youth world cup against other international teams was such a special feeling to be there and perform,” said Anderson, who grew up in East Corentyne Number 1 Road, Berbice.
The elegant right-hander expressed satisfaction with his World Cup performance but said if he had eliminated all of his ‘soft dismissals’ he would have gotten more runs. He added that the conditions were always favourable for cricket with good pitches and fast out fields.
Anderson, who turns 20 on September 28, seemed on the fringe of making his first-Class debut when the Corona Virus brought the Regional four-day season to a halt with Guyana (with no chance of winning a sixth consecutive title) having two matches to play.
“Well I don’t really think too far, too fast, I take it one step at a time. But that would’ve been a big boost for me personally since it (four-day cricket) is something I love, I love playing the longer version.
But I am not discouraged because there’s a God and he’ll make a way when the time is right,” said Anderson when asked how disappointed he was that the season was cancelled.
“What I have learnt most from playing in the Franchise League? I would say staying patient at the crease and pick the balls to score from. The runs gonna come once you are out there,” explained Kelvon, who scored his maiden Franchise League century (122) against East Coast at Lusignan after batting for over seven hours.
Anderson, who described himself as a batsman who could bowl, explained that his strengths as a top order batsman are his pre delivery method of getting into position early, keeping his head still and having lots of patience. It is no surprise that his favourite batsman is West Indies opener Barbadian Kraigg Braithwaite.
“Defending three runs in the final over against Trinidad and Tobago in last year’s Regional U-19 tournament is my most memorable moment,” informed Anderson who says he prefers Tests and ODIs to T20s.
Asked about his thoughts on the standard of local cricket, Anderson said that it is of a fairly good quality.
“But I think if we as players have better pitches, that would be a plus and our cricket will improve …. I loved the pitches in South Africa,” disclosed Anderson who favours the cut, flick and on-drive.
Anderson, like most top order batsmen, says he prefers pace ‘first up’in his innings since he finds it easier to ‘get a start’ off the pacers and then build from that when the spinners are introduced.
The youngster likes reading, music and playing basketball and Football. His first two hobbies will be ideal for this period of inactivity due to COVID-19 which forces people to stay at home.
“I want to tell people just to be safe and remember prevention in better than cure. So stay at home, wash your hands and let’s fight this together. I will do my usual drills that I normally do before I joined the Academy and the more stuff I have to do for the (Guyana Jaguars) trainer Neil Barry,” said Anderson who has been given an Academy contract.
The Guyana Cricket Board has suspended all Cricket in Guyana including the daily training for the Academy players until further notice and Barry has sent a programme to all of the players involved in the senior National set-up.
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