McClean defeats injury to stun Windies
Dubai, United Arab Emirates– Kevin McClean produced a classic fast bowling performance as Sagicor High Performance Centre pulled off a superb win over West Indies in their 40-over Carib Asian Series match on Thursday.
The tall right-armer from Barbados took four wickets in his first spell and returned to take another to end the innings at the International Cricket Council’s Global Cricket Academy. He finished with the impressive figures of five wickets for 19 runs as the West Indies fell for 73 off 30.2 overs.
Sagicor HPC then reached 74-4 off 21.3 overs for their fourth consecutive win on tour and the biggest victory since the programme started in April, 2010. Left-arm pacer Delorn Johnson was again impressive with his pace and swing and made the early breakthrough with two wickets in his first three overs. He ended with three for 17 from eight overs.
After the match McClean said he was pleased with his performance as he stuck to the game-plan. He also battled temperatures of close to 40 degrees Celsius and the effort proved he is fully recovered from a series of set-backs, including a career-threatening ankle injury.
“It was a ‘fresh’ pitch so I knew once I got the ball in the right areas there would be something in it for me. I anticipated there would be plenty of ‘carry’ so I ran in, hit the pitch hard and got the results. It was a pleasing performance for me. I got roughed up in the first T20 match (v United Arab Emirates Blues) so I knew I had something to prove against the West Indies. I didn’t want to let the side down,” the 23-year-old said.
“It was very tough bowling out there today. It was close to 40 degrees so I had to make sure I conserved energy and look to execute my game plan. The aim was to build blocks of dot balls and then produce that ‘effort’ ball. It worked and my game is progressing well on this tour.”
McClean, who is a Sociology student at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, is on the comeback trail. A little over a year ago he suffered an ankle injury while fielding in a match. It kept him out of the game for over six months and he was forced to miss the Sagicor HPC tour of Canada as well as the Regional 50 Over tournament in Jamaica.
“I fractured my ankle last year and that put me out of the game for a while. It happened while I was going to field a ball in a match against a Barbados Select XI. As the ball got close to me it spun away and I tried to change direction. I felt it snap.
“From the moment it happened I knew I was in trouble. I missed most of the first year of the (Sagicor HPC) programme and it was quite tough to sit there and just watch others play. I used to pick up little injuries here and there but this was a severe set-back.”
He added: “The time alone thought me a lot about the game and about life. I spent a lot of time on my own and I visualized where I wanted to be. I built up a lot of inner strength and now I’m a much stronger person and much more focused as a cricketer.
“I had a lot of people there to support me but I had to face the challenges on my own… it was my career to rebuild. I had to be independent and it brought me out of my comfort zone. I never once thought of quitting. It was a long, hard road to rehabilitation but I literally knew I would get back on my two feet. I am not what people would call a ‘talented’ cricketer but I will always be a hard worker and a trier.”
McClean has been around the first-class circuit in the West Indies for four seasons. He plays for Combined Campuses and Colleges and was a member of the team which reached the final of the WICB 4 day Tournament earlier this year. He has so far taken 66 wickets in 28 First Class matches at an average of 26.09 per wicket. He was a member of the West Indies squad to the ICC Champions Trophy 2009 in South Africa but did not play.
UPCOMING TOUR MATCHES (50-overs per side)
Saturday, October 1: Sagicor HPC v Afghanistan
Saturday, October 1: West Indies v United Arab Emirates
Sunday, October 2: Sagicor HPC v UAE Blues
Monday, October 3: West Indies v Afghanistan