By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 28th Anniversary). He leaned an stroked the ball almost perfectly to cover point and then waited for it to passed the fielder before he ran two runs for Cosmos against United at Idlewild park last Monday. Note: the name is Chetram Persaud. Whenever a young talented cricketer like Chetram Persaud gets suited in his cricket attire and stepped onto the cricket field he brings a breath of fresh air to the game, a nostalgic feeling to the cricketers of yesteryear and renewed sense of hope that that rear pedigree of naturally talented cricketers is still in circulation.
Like so many young players before him in Cosmos, he too is given his first opportunity among the big boys and at twelve years of age he showed the discipline, determination and heart that is crucial to his development. He responded with the maturity beyond his age and the glimpse of a cricketer in the making. Cosmos pragmatic leadership has dedicated countless time and efforts in the youths over the last two and a half decades and will continue to play their role for as long as possible. The match last Monday was evident when each team sported more than fifteen players each – way too much players for a Monday and a reminder that the cosmos brand is still circulating. The hard hitting veteran Wayne Stuger showed some reflections of his heydays with 3 towering sixes and 6 fours before he retired tired on 54, while ‘Cutty’ Mendonca, an inexperienced hooker got into ‘position’ too early, and as a result suffered a ‘baby-like’ gashed on the cheek from a solid blow on the helmet off paceman C. Burton. He weathered the discomfort and eventually retired bruised on 50. Captain Dixeth Palmer then handed the ball to Persaud in the closing overs. Persaud not only maintained a good line, he swung the ball both ways, when he got one to move away from the left-handed C. Hodges and Palmer took a low catch to his left at first slip the applause came from all directions as United inning closed on 165 for 5 off their allotted 30 overs.
In reply, Cosmos openers Wayne Cox (34) and Morris Powell (31) retired after a good opening partnership. Marlon Persaud then retired for a solid 27, while Palmer added some steam to an already scorching day when he latched on to ‘Cutty’ Mendonca’s medium pace from the JFK end for three huge sixes that ‘landed somewhere in the no clearance area for battered leather at JFK customs.’ Ordelmo Peters the Jamaica opening batsman then entertained with a few classic pulls through the mid-wicket region as he partnered and coached the junior Persaud through the brief inning to take cosmos comfortably home.
The highlight of the day remained with the promising young left-handed Chetram Persaud whose solid defense attracted much attention and his drives brought applause from everyone at the ground. It appears though that young Persaud is trying to emulate his older 19-year old brother Marlon Persaud both of whom are very passionate about the game. That influence augurs well for young Persaud since he is always in the company and practicing with his older brother Marlon Persaud. Additionally, and one admirable and exceedingly significant source of guidance and encouragement comes from their father Mahindra Persaud who in addition to supporting his boys interest in cricket, he also balanced the value of academic discipline. It is reasonable to conclude that if young Persaud was residing somewhere in the West Indies, he would most certainly make a very strong push for representation on the national team as his talent is on par with some and exceeds many before him. The empirical test now will be how can the talent of such a young cricketer be refined and nurtured in the years ahead in a current youth cricket administrative environment that is mentally challenged.