Oct 22, 2021 Sports
Talented youth following in Dad’s footsteps…
By Sean Devers
Kaieteur News – After making his U-19 debut in Barbados in 1988, Arjune Nandu made his First-Class debut for Berbice the same year in the Guystac Trophy before playing three more First-Class games; two for Guyana in the 1992 Red Stripe Cup and one for Berbice in the 1989 Kenneth Sookram Memorial Trophy.
The leggie ended with five wickets between 1988-1992 with four of them coming for Guyana in one innings; the 49-year-old Nandu played two Youth Tests for West Indies U-19s against Young Australiain 1990.
The father of West Indies U-19 player Matthew Nandu, Arjune would hope to join Shiv and Tagenarine Chanderpaul (who played together) and Garvin and Ashmead Nedd as the only Father and Son to play First-Class cricket for Guyana since 1966.
Matthew Nandu had an outstanding 2019; scoring five consecutive half-centuries for his Canadian Club, Tranzac, making 150 not out in the Sir Garfield Sobers International Schools tournament and being picked for the Chris Gayle-led Vancouver Knights in the second edition of the Global T20 in Canada.
However, the pandemic put his budding career on ice for over year and robbed him the opportunity of representing Guyana in U-19 cricket. Matthew was born in Canada on June 9, 2003 to Arjune and Jackie Nandu and has an older brother (Marcus) who is currently finishing his 4th year at Western University, Ontario, Canada and attended the Canada U-19 trials.
“I attended St. Luke Catholic Elementary School, where I played volleyball, basketball, baseball, did Track and Field and also ran cross country. I also attended St. David Catholic Secondary School, where I was the captain for the volleyball team in grade 10 and 11 and also, captained the basketball team in grade 9” said 18-year-old left-handed batsman who bowls off-spin.
The multitalented Matthew, who is currently studying psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada, said he became interested in cricket because of his dad and brother. “I was always at the cricket ground at a very young age and the first club I joined in Canada was Kaiteur Cricket Club” disclosed Matthew.
He grew up in Canada but began going back and forth to Guyana since 2017 and played for Demerara in 2018 at the U-17 and in 2019 at U-19. However, unlike his dad, who played youth and senior for Berbice, Matthew joined City side Everest and representedEast Bank in the Franchise league.
Matthew who ended up in Guyana because of his Uncle Chris Thakoorpersad, was named an Adidas Brand Ambassador byManaging Director of Cricket Zone USA, Ravi Etwaroo in May this year.
“I decided to play in Guyana because I believe that I will have a better future in cricket. Also, senior players also encouraged me to continue progressing my game at a higher level” informed Matthew, whofirst played for Guyana in the 2019 Regional U-17 tournament in Trinidad.
“My most memorable game, playing for Guyana was when I scored 71 not out against Barbados at Brian Lara Cricket Academy” added Matthew. However, one of four Guyanese players selected for the practice matches at a Camp in Antigua, he and Berbice pacer 16-year-old Isaiah Thorne were selected to tour England last month, for six-match youth ODI series between Young England and West Indies U-19s. Windies lost 4-2.
“My most memorable game playing for West Indies U-19 was the 6th ODI, because I scored 80, and took 2-35. It was great to finish off the tour with a win. It was a great experience representing the West Indies at the U19 level against England. I learned a lot on the tour”stated Matthew, who informed that the standard in England was very high.
Matthew got injured while batting in the second ODI and was forced to retire hurt after being run out for 21 in the opening game and missed the next game. “I believe I made a great comeback, by scoring back to back half centuries in the 5th (51) and 6th ODI (80) to finish the tour with an average of 40.5, which is something I am proud of. However, a lot of work still has to be done to reach the top. I will continue putting in the hard work and staying focussed” continued Matthew, who says his first goal is retain his place in the Regional side.
West Indies have won the U-19 World Cup just once since Brian Lara led them to their first World Cup in 1988 in Australia. In 2016, Shimron Hetmyer led West Indies to Championship honours.
Matthew is presently in Barbados after he was invited amongst others,including Thorne, the quickest bowler in England, by Coach Floyd Reifer to continue training prior to the HP training camp in Antigua for the 2022 World Cup in the Caribbean.
The promising youngster spoke about the challenges of the pandemic and living in a bubble. “It’s quite difficult mentally but with the support from my coaches, family, and friends I am able to cope with any obstacle that may arise” said Matthew, who also spoke of how he balances academics and cricket and how he adapted to the Guyanese Culture.
“Being in Guyana does not affect my studies because many of my courses were online and my teachers were very understanding of my situation. of course. I missed my friends and family a lot. However, Aunty Sonia and Uncle Richard Jodah (former Guyana youth batsman) treated me as if I was one of their own.
I was away from home for seven months, but they ensured that I was well taken care of. They also contributed to the person who I am today and where I am in my life. I will continue going back and forth from Canada to Guyana, so that I can continue my cricket aspirations as well as my academics” explained Matthew.
Matthew says cricket in Canada is definitely developing, added that the level is quite high. “I started playing cricket in Canada and I continue to play in Canada to this day. I want to thank everyone for all of their continuous support” concluded Matthew who sees himself playing for the Guyana Jaguars and representing the West Indies senior team in the future.
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