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Gregory Sewdial Poised For Cricket Stardom

By Orin Davidson

If any youngster was groomed for cricket greatness in the United States, none is better prepared than Gregory Sewdial.

Gregory Sewdial

At 15 years, he is a relative veteran in the country where cricket is growing faster than any place else.

And Sewdial has capitalized fully on every minute of time, ounce of energy and every dime his father Michael has invested in him so far.

After four years in the sport, Sewdial would win hands down any contest for most accomplished 15-year-old American cricketer.

It is because he is a class act in virtually all aspects of the game.

He can bat better than many adults and bowl leg spin that would confuse many, such is his ability. This summer he added the dimension of captaincy to his game and did a fine job of it in his first try.

Taking everything into consideration it was a breakthrough season in more ways than one for the youngster.

He scored his very first century and also broke into the New York Under-19 squad in addition to winning the captaincy of the Region’s Under-15 team.

Sewdial also has a five-wicket haul, which says a lot for anyone bowler in limited overs competition, much less a young teen.

None of his accomplishments would’ve been possible though without the desire and drive of Gregory’s father.

“Without him, I would have never reached this far,” said Sewdial of his father’s input in his career.

Born in Guyana, Michael Sewdial said it was a desire of him to play at a high level, but he migrated to America at 14-years old which dashed all his hopes as cricket was dead at the time here.

And when his first and only son came along, Michael vowed to realize his dreams through Gregory and has never regretted all the time, energy and money invested in the boy.

At 18 months he faced his first delivery when dad started rolling balls to him and at two years, he understood the basics of the game.

At six years, Michael said his son started batting and knew how to judge line and length and at 11 Gregory was playing among grown men in first class competition in the biggest league in New York.

More than 50 teams compete in the Commonwealth League and Gregory said he was never shown any mercy whatsoever by the bowlers three times his age.

“They never showed any sympathy and I have the black and blue (bruises) to show for it, he explains.

Actually Sewdial played his very club game at 10 years old. His father remembers they were representing Seven Stars against Castle Hill and his son was drafted into the side to complete the 11 after one player failed to show up.

As it turned out, Gregory was summoned to the crease as last batsman with the team needing 28 runs to win from four overs with star batsman Adrian Bevaun only needing someone to hang on.

Incredibly, young Sewdial managed to preserve his wicket, by blocking out all the bullets that came his way to allow Bevaun to hit the winning runs, despite the opposition recalling their strike bowler.

That was the first indication dad’s investment was bearing fruit.

The youngster went from strength to strength thereafter thanks to additional vital exposure he got at the Cricket International Junior Youth Development Program (JYDP).

He recorded his first century in a commanding display for Cricket International Youths against Washington Youths in the Tri-State Under-19 series in August.

But pundits rate a 74 he hit off New Jersey Youths as possibly his best innings to date. It was a classic which so impressed New Jersey coach Basil Butcher Jr he wrote about it.

Ever since, Sewdial played his first competitive match at 10 years old, he never disappointed.

That year he toured Wales in Great Britain with the USA Academy Under-15 squad and reeled off three half centuries.

Shortly afterwards he nailed his first five-wicket haul with his leg spin representing the JYDP Under-15 team against a Connecticut Under-15 side.

In the Commonwealth League he has graduated to scoring two 50’s for Seven Stars this past season.

And he crowned the year by leading the United States Under-15 team to victory in the International Cricket Council’s Americas Cup Under-15 series in Florida.

Despite his accomplishments and wide exposure, Sewdial never expected to win the captaincy.

“I was quite shocked, because there were 15 other players there to chose from’, explains the modest youngster.

Because of rain the games were reduced to 20 and 15 overs a side but he still grabbed five wickets in the two games including a match winning 3-18 in the final to help his team upset the strong Bermuda squad.

Although Gregory’s father worked exclusively on his batting, the youngster developed a knack for leg spin from watching tapes of world record holder Shane Warne of Australia.

“He is my favorite bowler which is why I try to bowl like him,” explains Sewdial.

It is no surprise his most admired batsman is the other world record holder Brian Lara.

Such was his father’s desire for Gregory to play for the West Indies, he even attempted re-migrating to Guyana. There the youngster attended the established Malteenoes Academy which helped groom current West Indies vice captain Ramnaresh Sarwan.

But now, Michael believes that America is the place for his son to live and play cricket.
“I would like him to play at the highest level whether it’s for America or the West Indies.”

At school Sewdial is also making a name for himself. He says he is a straight A student at the Metropolitan High School in the Bronx and was recently recruited to its basketball team, such is his all-round talent.

Gregory would one day like to pursue a career in law enforcement, but for now cricket is his life. And he wants to go all the way to the top and become the first America-born superstar.

At his rate of development his ultimate goal seems a foregone conclusion.
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