Jul 01, 2020 Sports
By Sean Devers
Thirty-one-year-old Guyana and West Indies left-hander Vishaul Anthony Singh is a solid and responsible middle order batsman whose biggest asset is his temperament.
Vishaul is 5ft 5inches tall, but don’t let his size fool you since his well-timed strokes, especially his favourite cut shots, reaches the boundary a fast as most other batsman. In club cricket he hits some big sixes although he rarely takes those risks at First-Class level.
He has played three Tests against Pakistan in which he only managed 63 runs from six innings with 32 of those runs coming in one innings but since his debut series in 2017 he has never been recalled.
He has 3,985 runs from 76 First-class matches with a highest score of 161 against Sri Lanka ‘A’ at an average of 33.20 with eight centuries (six of them for Guyana) and 18 fifties.
Vishaul has played eight Regional 50 overs games after making his debut against the Windwards in Trinidad on January 15, 2015, but has not played 50 overs cricket since January 20, 2016 when Guyana opposed T&T in Trinidad.
Vishaul averages just over 30 with a highest score of 49 in 50-overs cricket and has never played a T20 match.
He made the Guyana U-15 team in 2004 and three years later played his only season of Regional U-19 cricket when Guyana won their 12th three-day title and reached the final of the 50-over tournament in St Kitts. Vishaul scored the only century (121 v Leewards) for Guyana.
Vishaul informed that this was his most memorable moment of his National youth career since in addition to his performance
with the bat, bringing back the trophy was very satisfying.
Vishaul made his first-class debut against Barbados as a 20-year old during Guyana’s last match in the 2008-09 season. He scored 4 and 34, and could add just two more first-class appearances the following season. He returned to the Guyana squad as a middle-order batsman in the 2010-11, and scored just one half-century in a drawn game against Barbados. Another dry year resulted in an axe from the first-class squad until February 2014.
Upon return, he made 479 runs in 2014-15 and followed-it up by becoming the third-highest scorer with 712 runs at 50.85 in the subsequent season.
In Vishaul’s debut as Captain in 2014 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 Skipper.
However, he got his first First-Class century in his second game as Guyana Captain against T&T in Port-of-Spain and Vishaul
says that is his most memorable moment for Guyana.
In October 2016, he scored 161 against the touring Sri Lanka ‘A’ team before being selected as Vice-Captain of the West Indies President’s XI side that played Pakistan in April 2017 and an unbeaten 135 in the three-day game earned him a maiden Test call-up for the first Test against Pakistan in Jamaica.
Vishaul who is among few West Indies players who use their feet to spinners, has played in all six seasons of PCL Regional First-class Franchise in which Guyana won the first five before Barbados were declared Champions after eight rounds when this year’s tournament was called off with two rounds remaining due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Vishaul had scored 93 in the sixth round against host Jamaica and 90 in the seventh round against the Leewards at Providence.
He also played for Diamond United and Alason Comets in Trinidad and Sandwich town CC in England.
“Comets was my first overseas contact as a 19-year-old just out of youth cricket under the guidance of Suruj Ragoonath (who played two Tests in 1999) not only cricket-wise but in life …he moulded me like a Father since I was away from home and had only been exposed to my parents who assisted me in every way. When I went to Trinidad I was alone and he took care of me and taught me lots of things,” stated Vishaul
According to Vishaul, his time spent playing in England for Sandwich Town CC (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 most of the runs,” said Singh.
Vishaul, an only child, was born on January 12, 1989 to Hardat ‘Pepe’ Singh and Nalini Singh and lived all of his life in Alexander Village in Greater Georgetown until he moved to his own home in Atlantic Gardens on the East Coast of Demerara when got married to Trisha Singh.
Vishaul first saw his wife in a pageant about 10 years ago and the couple got married in 2015 and have a four-year-old son.
His grandfather, also named Hardat Singh, was the first person to swim across the Demerara River at age 18 in 1951. He was the first Captain of the East Bank Cricket team and received an Award from Governor of British Guiana Sir Charles Woolley.
“Life growing up as a little boy in Alexander Village was like any other Village life in the 1990s. Lots of friends, family, cousins around we had a ball field in the area where the Geddes Grant building is now and we spent most of our time at the ball field before the building was erected on the ground,” said the East Bank Franchise player.
The former Stella Maris Primary and St Rose’s Secondary student, who also attended Saints Stanislaus College to write his CAPE exams, was born into cricket since his dad was a leg-spinner who played first division cricket at GYO.
“When I was about eight, I was picked for GYO against a Lawyers team in an over-40 game 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.
He joined GYO but did not play any competitive cricket for them. At that time Common Entrance was approaching, so he stopped playing and after exams joined GCC.
“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,” said Vishaul.
At the age of 11, Vishaul caught the attention of cricket fans when became the youngest batsman to score a century against senior players (Third division game) breaking the record held by his club mate Ronnie Sarwan. Vishaul said that is his best memory as a little boy.
“In High school I played under Leon Johnson for St Rose’s and after he left, I took over as Captain and led the school in the Sir Garfield Sobers School’s tournament in Barbados,” disclosed Vishaul.
The GCC Captain admitted to being a bit surprised when he was picked for his Test debut.
“Yeah a bit but not entirely, I knew I must have been close, having scored runs two seasons running in First-Class cricket and scoring over 700 runs. I got Man-of-the series and scored the most runs from both sides in the ‘A’ team series against Sir Lanka.
I came back to First-Class cricket and had an average season but in the President’s X1 match I scored a hundred against Pakistan. I knew I had to be very close to getting picked,” informed Vishaul.
But that was his first and last Test series.
“I was disappointed. Anybody will be disappointed having not been recalled. Over the years I think I have had consistent performances in Regional four-day cricket.”
(Cont’d in tomorrow’s edition)
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