Barnwell eager to play in Inter-County tournament

Guyana Chronicle article.

Georgetown, Guyana - Guyana and West Indies T20 all-rounder Christopher Barnwell recently told Chronicle Sport of his eagerness to compete on the local domestic scene after a lengthy absence, especially in the upcoming Guyana Cricket Board (GCB)/Pepsi Inter-County 50 overs tournament which bowls off on Saturday.

The 26-year-old all-rounder, who hits the ball fairly hard on his day, was born into a soccer-oriented family, with his dad Christopher (Sr.) and uncle Dion both representing Thomas United and Guyana with pride.

Even during his early childhood, the young Christopher Barnwell also dabbled with soccer himself, before turning his full and undivided attention to cricket, representing Demerara Cricket Club (DCC) and Guyana with pride.

In fact, he is the first player from DCC and third from Guyana (Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul being the first two) to have been drafted by a team in the highly lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL), after attracting the attention of the scouts attached to the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for this year’s version of the tournament.

Even though he failed to make the final XI, the man who led Guyana in the 2012 West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Caribbean T20 tournament, relished the opportunity to rub shoulders with several world class players in the tournament, such as Christopher Gayle, Daniel Vettori and Muttiah Muralitharan, just to name a few.

In fact, he identified the first-hand privilege he had of witnessing Gayle’s explosive batting display for RCB in this year’s IPL against Pune Warriors on April 23, as one of the brightest moments of his T20 career, until the inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League (LCPL) rolled into the Caribbean recently.

“I think the first LCPL was wonderful, wherein I represented the Guyana Amazon Warriors. That presented a wonderful opportunity for me to go out there and showcase my talent for the world who was watching both live and via television.

“I did not get the kind of series I was looking forward to, especially after having a wonderful CT20 series earlier in the year, but I still give thanks for the little I have achieved in the tournament, learning a lot from the overseas guys who were a part of the set up,” stated Barnwell.

He singled out New Zealand’s James Franklyn for praise, saying the left-handed all-rounder helped him out a lot while passing on a few pointers, since for him, the LCPL was another learning curve in his already budding T20 career.

Quizzed on whether being selected for RCB in this year’s IPL had anything to do with the added energy he now possesses in his game, Barnwell replied in the positive.

“For me being in India with RCB earlier this year was a wonderful experience. I think I learnt a lot from the senior players who were around in the likes of Gayle, Muralitharan, AB deVilliers and Tillekaratne Dilshan.

The privilege I got to witness Gayle’s batting feats first hand, especially that 175 against Pune Warriors was a wonderful one for me, but it was surpassed and pushed to number two on the list, when Ronnie (Ramnaresh Sarwan) handed me the ball to bowl the final over in our LCPL preliminary round game against the Jamaica Tallawahs who needed 10 runs for victory,” said Barnwell.

He added, “When we played against St. Lucia Zouks, they needed 10 runs to win in the final over that was bowled by Mohammed Hafeez, and we lost that game and here again, the Tallawahs needed the same 10 runs when I was given the ball.

It was a win or lose situation to many, but I backed myself and made it a win/win situation for the team who were behind me 100% and myself and we came out on top by two runs and for me that was the best moment of my T20 career to date.”

Looking ahead to the GCB/Pepsi Senior Inter-county tournament, Barnwell said he is anxious to showcase the talent that landed him both IPL and LCPL contracts within the last eight months, to the cricketing public.

“It has been a while since I played any domestic cricket, whether it is for DCC, Demerara or even Guyana at home, before those two T20 practice games against Trinidad and Tobago two weeks ago at the Guyana National Stadium.

“So yes I am definitely looking forward to the Inter-county tournament, where I will not only be able to showcase my talent, but also assist the young players who will be selected for the Demerara team in this important tournament, as we are the defending champions and my aim is to go out there and retain the title,” posited Barnwell.

He believes that the squad of players which is made up of youth and experience that was selected for training by the Demerara Cricket Board selection panel is a good one and while no captain was announced (himself and Steven Jacobs being touted as the men for the job), he would relish the opportunity to lead the team.

Demerara play their first game against Essequibo at the once famous Georgetown Cricket Club on Saturday, followed by what can be described as the final, when they take on Berbice at the same venue on Tuesday 24th, with a win in both encounters guaranteeing them a spot in the final which is set for Sunday, September 29 at Albion.

First Published In The Guyana Chronicle.

Tue, 09/17/2013 - 04:03