THE TRINIDAD and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) expects Evin Lewis to grasp the opportunity given to him and establish himself as a top class batsman in the shortest form of the game at the ICC World T20 tournament currently underway in India.
Lewis, 24, was last week drafted into the West Indies squad after fellow Trinidadian Lendl Simmons was forced to pull out because of a back injury. Simmons was the fourth Red Force cricketer to make himself unavailable for regional selection on the T20 team.
On Wednesday, president of the TTCB Azim Bassarath said he had high hopes for Lewis, an explosive opening batsman who is the most exciting cricketer on the national team whose audacious stroke-play can play a crucial role if West Indies are to reclaim the ICC T20 Trophy following their 2012 triumph four years ago in Sri Lanka.
“Evin has all the qualities to set the cricket world alight in India over the coming weeks. He is an exceptionally talented batsman who will not be overawed playing against more recognised cricketers at the World T20. We look forward to him leading the charge once selected in the final eleven,” said Bassarath.
The TTCB boss said that he met earlier this week with Lewis and assured him that the cricket board and all patriotic fans were overjoyed to learn of him being picked since the opportunity could not have come to a more deserving player.
Bassarath said that with the world watching on, Lewis will have a golden opportunity to showcase his immense talent which will open up doors for him to play cricket all over the world, enhance his reputation and fatten his pocket,” said Bassarath.
Lewis burst into the international spotlight late last year by being the only centurion of the 2015 Bangladesh Premier League T20 when the subcontinent first got a glimpse of his fearless shot-making capabilities.
He followed up his prolific form with a century in the victorious 2016 Nagico Super50 campaign in January at Shaw Park in Tobago, and rounded off his collection with a disclipined hundred for the Red Force in the ongoing Regional 4-Day Tournament.
“In the space of a few months Evin has showed that he has the temperament to make big scores in the three formats of the game and we know that he can extend his good form in the coming weeks which will bode well for the West Indies fortunes,” said Bassarath.
When the West Indies won the ICC World T20 in 2012, there were seven T&T players on the squad, but this year, four key members have ruled themselves out of contention because of various reasons.
Kieron Pollard is slowly recovering from a knee ailment; Sunil Narine is engaged in rehabilitating his bowling action after being banned by the ICC; and Simmons hurt his back in practice on the eve of the tournament. Meanwhile, Darren Bravo who opted to skip the tournament in order to concentrate on the longer form of the game has not sufficiently recovered from a blow to his head which he suffered three weeks ago . This has ruled him our of the Red Force's encounter versus the Barbados Pride which started today, Friday, at the National Cricket Centre in Couva.
Bravo practised with the national senior cricket team over the last two days but complained of still experiencing headaches and dizziness.
The remaining T&T players in the squad are wicket-keeper DeneshRamdin, inspirational all-rounder Dwayne Bravo and world No 1 T20 bowler Samuel Badree.