DHAKA, Bangladesh – Veerasammy Permaul said he felt little pressure following in the footsteps of the two young spinners that have preceded him into the West Indies team.
Permaul said he had settled into the team currently preparing for the two-Test series against Bangladesh, which starts next Tuesday at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium here.
The left-arm spinner from Guyana has two huge acts to follow after leg-spin bowling compatriot Devendra Bishoo and current West Indies team-mate, off-spinner Sunil Narine both created such big impressions, they were voted the ICC Emerging Player-of-the-Year in the last two editions of the ICC Awards.
Permaul said he recognised that he will be judged by his performances and this was his motivation.
“First of all, I want to get into the final 11, and from there, see how things work for me and perform to the best of my ability,” he told WICB Media on Friday.
“I do not really feel any pressure because of what Bishoo and Narine have done. At the end of the day, performance counts, so all I have to do is grab my opportunity, go out there and perform.”
Permaul has played 45 first-class matches since his debut five years ago, snaring 152 wickets at 24.59 apiece.
The 23-year-old led the West Indies A-Team to a memorable victory against India-A earlier this year in the Caribbean and visited Bangladesh last month with the Sagicor West Indies High Performance Centre, where he collected 21 wickets in all three formats of the game and was a constant threat with the ball.
“I have been waiting a long time for this opportunity to get into the West Indies senior team,” he said.
“It has now come and I think it is the perfect opportunity, since I came to Bangladesh a month ago [with the Sagicor WIHPC] and so I am coming back knowing the conditions and what to expect.
“I think it is a privilege to be in this team to be around players like Chris Gayle and some of the other senior players. As a young player, I think I need to look at how they go about doing things and learn quickly.”
Permaul said the trip to Bangladesh last month was not lost on him. He learnt quite a bit from the experience and would look to put it into action, when he is given an opportunity.
“One of the things I learnt was that you have to bowl straight and be consistently in good areas,” he said. “You need to be very patient because the pitches are slow already and if you try to experiment too much, you may lose control and leak runs.
“In the batting, it’s the same thing. You have to be very patient and keep your eyes on the ball, since you can’t play too early because the pitch is too slow.”
Permaul is the latest graduate from the inaugural squad of the Sagicor WIHPC to make the senior West Indies side. He follows Brandon Bess, as well as current team-mate Kieran Powell and fast bowler Shannon Gabriel.
“The Sagicor WIHPC helped me to develop my all-round game,” he said. “It helps to shape you into becoming a complete cricketer – batting, bowling, fielding, in your mental preparation, everything suits a young player going into the programme.”
He said his time spent at the Sagicor WIHPC also helped him to take his batting far more seriously.
“I have been working hard over the last few years on my batting,” he said. “When I was part of the Sagicor WIHPC squad last year, I started working on it. As a bowler, I think batting is very important, so that you can make valuable contributions to the team in the lower order.”
West Indies continued their preparations for the series on Friday with fitness training under the eye of Strength & Conditioning Coach Hector Martinez.
The visitors were due to start a two-day, tour match against a Bangladesh Cricket Board XI on Friday, but the BCB announced that the contest was shelved due to unplayable conditions at the BKSP Ground in Savar, a town about 25 miles north of the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka.
This followed an inspection of the venue by BCB and West Indies management officials early on Thursday, following steady rain over the last week in the country.
The match was originally scheduled to be played over three days from Thursday.
West Indies will use the additional time to get extra practice sessions on Saturday and Sunday ahead of the first Test.
This is West Indies’ third full tour of Bangladesh, following trips in 2002 and last year.