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Perkins Lit Up Stanford Cup New York Help

By Orin Davidson
Trinidad and Tobago made mincemeat of the opposition most of the way in claiming their first $1M Stanford Twenty20 Cup, in no small measure from the impact of certain star performers.

They had Dave Mohamed making a lot of batsmen into hacks when failing to decipher his leg spin/ chinaman that made him the tournament’s highest wicket taker.

But if Mohamed’s display was not entirely surprising, that of William Perkins definitely did.

He outperformed every other batman from his team and the entire competition to finish leading batsman, and had Allen Stanford put up any series individual prizes, like they do in some Regional competitions, the little right hander would’ve been deservingly rewarded outside of his share of the close to $2M Trinidad and Tobago walked away with from Antigua last weekend.

In the process Perkins made a name not only for himself, but also for New York cricket while parading himself before television audiences on Dish Network,, Asia television, England Sky, Australia and South Africa networks among others.

Anyone in the cricket fraternity here who begs to disagree either was stuck in the cricket wilderness before 2003 when Perkins was an active member of the New York junior development program.

You can go as far to deduce that without New York cricket and the officials who gave him all the support, Perkins might not have been one of the star performers in the 2008 Stanford Cup .

At a time when Trinidad and Tobago could not forsee his talent, after he represented them in the West Indies Under-15 championship, and did not follow up after the player’s family migrated to New Jersey, he was welcomed with open arms into the New York fold.

Perhaps coach Linden Fraser should take most of the credit for making it work here for Perkins by first spotting his talent and fighting for his inclusion in junior teams at a time when it was still the norm for officials here to play foolish politics with team selection.

Perkins accepted the opportunity to be part of the New York junior program and never behaved like a big shot, even after coming from a superior setting including recognized competition like the Regional Under-15 series.

But perhaps the competition that turned his career around and for which New York officials like Gary Nascimento still talk about with glee was the trip to Guyana with the New York Junior Youth Development team in 2003.

It turned out to be a failed attempt to have New York compete in the West Indies Cricket Board’s Under-19 TCL competition, but a roaring success for Perkins and Big Apple cricket.

Trinidad woke up to the realization that Perkins was not worth losing after word got around about the imperious 85 he stroked for New York against Canada, which was a competitor in the TCL U-19, at the GCC ground Bourda, in one of eight specially arranged matches.

New York finished the tour with six wins which not only underlined the strength of the Region’s junior cricket, but also gave Trinidad the opportunity to reclaim Perkins who has been a part of their plans ever since.

He was drafted into the country’s training squad for the next year’s competition and went on to eventually play in the TLC and only two years ago, made the Under-19 West Indies World Cup team. Breaking into Trinidad’s senior team was not that difficult either and even before Stanford Twenty20, Perkins was a regular in the T&T one-day side.

No doubt, some forces in that country deserve credit along the way like the Wanderers Club that gave the youngster a semi-professional contract to play exclusively, but New York has to be commended for reviving Perkins’ career at a time when he could’ve easily become just another immigrant boy, who could’ve forgotten all about cricket and focus all his energy on a college education.

You also have to give the youngster’s parents commendations too for allowing their son to virtually leave his family to re-migrate back to Trinidad to pursue a sport.

That would be unheard of for a Guyanese family - allowing their 18-year-old to postpone a life in America and college education, for cricket back home.

Many young .sport careers have been thus lost to Guyanese youngsters through a mentality that still frowns on sport, because the thinking is still rife of it being merely a distraction for pre teenagers and teenagers.

Stanford Twenty20 with all the money that goes with it, might shift that perception there somewhat. We know it worked wonders for Perkins’ game which firmly places him now within the radar of West Indies selectors.

With two half centuries and a 43, Perkins placed his more experienced opening partner Lendl Simmons and all the other teams’ first down batsmen in the shadows.

And that includes world renowned ball beater Chris Gayle who got cold feet and even demoted himself curiously in the Jamaica batting order at a time he was being bought for a hefty $800,000 bid in the India Premier League (IPL). There was also the new West Indies opener - Sewnarine Chattergoon and Travis Dowlin – the 2006 highest scorer, who Perkins all upstaged.

The right-hander admirably tamed the best of West Indies fast bowling immediately after Darren Powell blitzed the region’s best batsman Shiv Chanderpaul with that screaming yorker that not only broke his off stump in two, but was correctly deemed the play of the tournament by former Australia player Bruce Yardley

Jerome Taylor, now undeniably the WI’s number one paceman, was also put to the sword by the young Trinidadian at a time when the former and Powell had put away defending champions Guyana in the semi-finals.

Of course, the opposing batsmen, except the Guyanese did not have to encounter Mohamed’s perplexing spin, who must now be automatically made into a starting West Indies team bowler. You cannot help but feel a sense of satisfaction at his ability to turn the ball both ways at will. And his wicket-celebrations were classic, even Danza Hyatt, the Jamaican hard hitter who he stranded down the pitch with a chinaman, in reflection must be amused at Mohamed’s shoe/ telephone antic.

If Mohamed deserved an unofficial tournament Most Valuable Player award, given the destruction he wrought in all four matches, Perkins was not too far off. And he has to thank New York for making it possible.
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