Oct 13, 2020 Sports
Guyana has had its fair share of siblings who have represented this nation in cricket at various levels. Mahendra and Vishal Nagamootoo, Andy and Michael Chinsammy, Sudesh and Sunil Dhaniram, Rovendra and the late Shivnandan Madholall, Seon and Shimron Hetmyer, Esuan and Royston Crandon, Alvin and Derek Kallicharran, Barrington and Robin Browne and Roger and Mark Harper are names that readily come to mind.
Some of the above named players have also don West Indies colours. Brothers Riyad and Ryan Latif are aiming to join that distinguished list. They have been making waves on the local scene and have impressed even the staunchest critics with their style, dedication and discipline.
They developed a passion for the game after seeing their dad in action in local club cricket and started to play the sport in their yard. Recognising their talent and passion for the game, their dad (Richard Latif) had decided to get them involved in a club so that they can hone their skills.
They became members of the Transport Sports Club (TSC) in Georgetown and subsequently encouraged their third brother, Reyaz to do likewise.
At TSC their talent was spotted by Coach Shaun Massiah and they became permanent members of the clubs’ starting XI at the age group level. In a recent interview with Kaieteur Sport, 13 year-pld Riyad said, like his brother, he learnt the basic skills from his dad when he was 8 and is happy to be playing competitive cricket.
Riyad who bats right-handed and bowls right arm leg spin was part of the winning TSC Under-13 team in 2019 along with his brothers, Ryan and Reyaz. He later turned out for his club at the Under-19 level where his best performance was a 6 wicket haul and he also contributed handsomely with the bat.
Riyad has always been among the wickets and in the 2019 GCA Under-17 competition; he bagged 19 scalps with his best being 6 for 7. Riyad was picked for Georgetown to play in the Inter Association Under-15 competition in Demerara and earned a place on the Demerara team for the Guyana Cricket Board Inter County Under-15 tournament in 2019.
In the final against Berbice at Bourda, he produced a man-of-the-match performance, grabbing four wickets, including the prized scalp of Rampertab Ramnauth, to lead his team to victory. He was somewhat unlucky not to make the national team that year.
Seeing his omission as a disappointment and motivation, Riyad decided to work harder at his game. He participated in 2020 Inter County Under-15 tournament where he picked up seven wickets in two games, but the sport was halted due to the current pandemic.
After performing creditably at the age group level, Riyad was rewarded with a call up to his club’s second division team at the age of 12. He impressed in his debut against Diplomats with a four-wicket haul and this has boosted his confidence.
Riyad, who attends the Al- Ghazali Islamic Academy, informed that his favourite cricketer is Nicholas Pooran and that he intends to work hard to achieve his goals. “The coach and other senior players at the club would tell us about the importance of discipline and hard work and I always look forward to their advice,” he noted.
Riyad further explained that they would look at videos of past cricketers to better their game.”We would look at videos of past players and this would motivate and give us ideas of how to better our game,” he posited. He is eager to get back on the pitch.
Fourteen-year old Ryan became a member of TSC at the age of nine and like his brother he first turned out for his club at the U-13 level. Ryan who attends the Christ Church Secondary School, bats right-handed and his favourite shot is the cover drive.
He represented his club at U-15 in 2019 and his highest score was 42 versus Demerara Cricket Club; he also played at the U-17 and 19 levels. He was selected in the Georgetown U-15 team to play in the Inter Association U-15 tournament earlier this year and notched up a highest score of 49 against West Demerara.
He was then called up to represent Demerara in the Inter County U-15 competition and was subsequently named in the Guyana training squad. Ryan noted that while his aim is to do well for Guyana, he also wants to go on to higher levels and intends to work hard to achieve his goal. “Success comes with hard work so I am prepared to do that,” he said.
Ryan stated that there is always some rivalry between the brothers when they go on the pitch and this helps them to improve. “I think this helps us to improve and also contribute in a positive way towards the team goal. It is always good to have some competition and sometimes this helps us to overcome challenges.”
Both Ryan and Riyad said they are also focused on their education. “Education plays an important role in sport in that it helps to make proper decision and to interact with the media. Our parents understand that there is a need for both academic and sport so we are being encouraged to play cricket,” added Ryan.
He has expressed gratitude to Massiah, Coach Clive Grimmond and Kelvin Ross. Reyaz, 10, also plays at the U-13 and 15 levels. He has also impressed with his leg spin and his best performance so far is a four-wicket haul.
He also attends the Al Ghazali Islamic Academy. Their youngest brother Rakeeb is five years-old and he has already shown a love for the game. The brothers train everyday at their home in Kitty under the guidance of their dad.
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