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Rashard Marshall Lifts Batting To Dizzying Heights

By Orin Davidson
He has the name of a famous West Indies fast bowler, but Rashard Marshall looks and bats more like the great Vivian Richards.
Despite his likeness to the two West Indian legends, the powerful right hander is about to make his name for the United States of America instead.

This year Marshall emerged as the hottest name in New York circles with such exciting batting, he stole the show from the legendary Brian Lara and his big name West Indian charges in the biggest clash of the New York summer at Floyd Bennett Park.

Marshall’s innings alone catapulted his name into the upper echelons of the sport here after blasting the West Indies attack for a phenomenal 90 runs off only 59 balls.

He upstaged Lara, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Chris Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul in the first of two matches, while making himself the best United States batsman on show.

It was after Marshall helped New Jersey (Atlantic Region) record a shocking triumph over New York to win the Eastern Conference title, by topping all scorers, early this summer.

Since then Marshall has not looked back although he was controversially taken off the United States national team which contested the just concluded Americas Cup championship in Canada.

An injury he sustained long before the competition started was identified as reason for replacing him in the 13-man squad. But even as the team leaving was leaving the country, Marshall was scoring half centuries for his clubs in the Washington and Garden State Leagues.

As fate would have it, a solitary batting collapse in their final game, robbed the U.S. of a certain hold on the title against Canada. Marshall who specializes in the middle order, would’ve been the ideal foil to pick up the slack, after the overachieving top order had had done all the scoring in the early games.

Disappointed at missing out on a chance to make his U.S. debut, Marshall is however, putting the experience behind him and looking forward to his next opportunity.

He intends going all the way in a career for his adopted country.”As far as America can take me,” he explained. “Because cricket is my love.”

Born and bred in Jamaica, Marshall was a national player there before immigrating to the United States in 2001.

He was 18 years at the time and had played in the Under-19 and Under-15 ranks for his native country.

The Jamaica youth team of 1990 and 2000 comprised the likes of West Indies stars Marlon Samuels and Jermain Lawson and national squad regulars David Bernard, Andrew Richardson and Tamar Lambert. Marshall was a key member and played in the series staged in Barbados and Jamaica. Yet he was picked as a fast medium bowler, and not the batsman he has now developed into.

The foundation for his multi dimensional career was laid in Discovery Bay on Jamaica’s North Coast where the bauxite company there funded training activities for the youngsters.

It is the area which hosted the West Indies limited overs championship finals for several years and where cricket is the top sport.

Now at 24 years, Marshall’s batting has placed him in great demand in America where he plays for three clubs – Montego Bay in the New Jersey Garden State League, Mid Island in New York’s Metropolitan League and Kingston in Washington.

It’s still early days in his career, yet Marshall is displaying big time temperament.

He is the type of batsman who thrives on confidence and takes the initiative away from bowlers with pure aggression, a la Viv Richards.

“I was not really nervous, it was little bit of both being nervous and confident at the same time,” Marshall explained when he took the crease to face Fidel Edwards, Corey Collymore and Ian Bradshaw and company at Floyd Bennett Park.

At the time U.S.’s leading batsman Steve Massiah was in the middle, and in no time the youngster was outscoring his captain. At one point Lara, examined Marshall’s bat as the sixes and fours were being reeled off.

His exploits carried the U.S. close to victory then.

One year in the future Marshall could well be converting those near misses into wins through a combination of quick eyes, fast feet and a flashing blade.
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