JAYDEN SEALES TAKES A JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME
Fast bowling great Ian Bishop and West Indies Under-19 Coach Graeme West encouraged by Seales emergence
Exciting young fast bowler Jayden Seales has his heart set on playing all formats for the West Indies following his impressive introduction to senior cricket in 2020 and recent selection to the West Indies Test team reserve squad for the Sandals Tour of New Zealand.
The 19-year-old from Basta Hall Couva in Trinidad who plays for the famous Queens Park cricket club, has stood out to Caribbean cricket fans in 2020 with his performances in the International Cricket Council Under-19 World Cup in South Africa and the Caribbean Premier League.
When I got the phone call I was very excited, stunned and thankful I got a call up to the senior team,” said Seales to CWI Media. “At this stage of my career I am keen to play all three formats for the West Indies, so I’m just looking forward to experiencing what it’s like to be with those guys and use the opportunity to learn as much as possible. He continued: “It was an amazing feeling playing in my first CPL and winning the title. It’s just now to learn from experience and move on from there. My favourite personal moment was running onto the field and celebrating winning the final against St Lucia Zouks. It was extra special because it was by birthday as well. Winning a title on your birthday is not something you get every day.”
Seales efforts have led former West Indies fast bowler and renowned global commentator Ian Bishop who saw Seales up close in both tournaments, to tell CWI Media from Dubai at the Indian Premier League that he felt Seales is slightly more advanced than Alzarri Joseph was when he emerged after the 2016 World Cup winning West Indies Under-19 team.
“Similarly with Jayden, I think he is a little bit more advanced than what Alzarri was at that stage. So while I’m not saying Jayden has arrived, this is serious talent and everyone that has seen him thinks the same thing, hence why I think we need to expedite Jayden’s development as well”, said Bishop.
Before this year's CPL, tournament organizers and Cricket West Indies for the second year in row made specific arrangements for emerging players like Seales to get more game time. CWI High Performance Director and West Indies Under-19 coach Graeme West was pleased by this exposure for Seales and other young players.
“The CPL was a great opportunity for Seales and other Under-19 players Ashmead Nedd, Kimani Melius and Nyeem Young. They played 17 games between them in the tournament so alongside Jayden who stood out they all got an opportunity to participate and perform and most importantly just to be around a professional environment with some world class players and international coaches,” said West.
See below for full Q & A CWI Media interviews with Jayden Seales, Ian Bishop and Graeme West.
How does it feel to have played a part in winning CPL in your first season playing the league
It was an amazing feeling playing in my first Cpl and winning the title. It’s just now to learn from experience and move on from there.
What was your favourite personal moment of CPL
My favourite personal moment was running onto the field and celebrating winning the final against St Lucia Zouks. It was extra special because it was by birthday as well. Winning a title on your birthday is not something you get everyday
Looking back at your 2020 year so far from being a standout player in the Under 19 World Cup and debut in CPL, what areas of your bowling do you think have improved this year
Bowling in the middle overs, I was a bit one dimensional before CPL. But working with and picking the brains of Dwayne Bravo and West Indies white ball captain Kieron Pollard gave me better ideas and plans of how to bowl during the phase during CPL.
What was the biggest difference to you bowling to the Under 19 batters at the World Cup and senior West Indies and international players in CPL
The biggest difference was the intent shown by the batsmen. At under 19 level the batsmen would wait and watch a little more compared to senior players who come at you from ball one and look to score off good and bad balls.
Since leaving the Under-19 set-up, how often have you been in contact with coach Graeme West and what advice has he been giving you behind the scenes
I have been in contact with coach West a few times since the World Cup. He gave me some tips on strengthening my bowling and how to deal with past injuries. He congratulated me when I got selected in the CPL team
Working with West Indies captain Kieron Pollard and TKR coach Bredon McCullum, what was that experience like
It was a good experience for me. I felt very welcome walking into the environment not knowing what to expect. Working with someone like coach McCullum, someone who just retired from the game and knows the pressures as a player, he never pressured me and always encouraged me. With Pollard he always had a calm head and was always there to give me advice on this (CPL) would be how it would be on the international stage and to keep my head up.
Yourself and Anderson Phillip are two young promising Trinidad & Tobago and West Indies fast bowlers. What is your relationship with him like and how keen are you to bowl with him together in a match soon
Phillip and I got close during our time in the CPL. During training we would talk to each other a lot about what lengths to bowl. He is someone that has experience in CPL and four-day cricket and I tend to listen to him a lot. I can’t wait for the new four-day season when we will play together again.
At this early stage of your career would you say you have a preference for any format
At this stage of my career I am keen to play all three formats for the West Indies:
Bishop Q & A:
What is your general assessment of Jayden Seales after watching him up close at Under-19 World Cup and CPL 2020
Well first of all he has skill. He has a really good action where the alignment is good and goes towards the target, so it’s a really good and efficient action. He seems to have good control to go with that. But more than anything else in addition to the pace he has as a young man is that he seems to have good character.
That combination impresses me because the determination in him wanting to play test cricket tells me he is an ambitious young kid. Also people that I’ve spoken to around him like his dad and he really has great focus and discipline. All of those things are very promising signs for him.
If he has to continue working obviously it will be on his strength to get stronger because he is still a kid in many respects. And as he gets into more senior cricket where the competition is more fierce, he should be eased into that so he can understand what he has to do.
After West Indies won the 2016 Under 19 World Cup, you similarly had high praise and hopes for Alzarri Joseph as a young fast bowler and felt he should be fast tracked. Do you feel same way with Seales.
Speaking for myself when I saw Alzarri in 2016, it was clear he was a young player above his age group. The pace, control and understanding he seemed to have then made me have the view at the time not to leave Alzarri too long wallowing through the system but to try and expedite his development beyond Under-19 cricket.
Similarly with Jayden, I think he is a little bit more advanced than what Alzarri was at that stage. So while I’m not saying Jayden has arrived, this is serious talent and everyone that has seen him thinks the same thing, hence why I think we need to expedite Jayden’s development as well
West Q & A:
As West Indies Under 19 coach and CWI High Performance Director how would you assess Seales progress since the Under-19 World Cup
The CPL was a great opportunity for Seales and other Under-19 players Ashmead Nedd, Kimani Melius and Nyeem Young. They played 17 games between them in the tournament so alongside Jayden who stood out they all got an opportunity to participate and perform and most importantly just to be around a professional environment with some world class players and international coaches.
This would have certainly added to their learning and professional experience that they would have got as Under-19 players. Jayden being part of the team that won unbeaten; playing alongside the West Indies white ball captain and other senior, experienced players; and coach McCullum would have certainly taken away great insights as to what goes into a successful team.
Overall I’m sure all of them would have felt that they made a step forward and sets Jayden and company all very nicely over the next 12 months as they go back to their home territories and get involved with their respective PCL franchises.