SPORTS

Evin Lewis — The Rise Of Windies Cricket Hercules

In any discussion about West Indies cricket and past greats, a name that must come to the fore is George Alphonso Headley OD.

Headley boasts batting averages in Test and First Class of 60.83 and 69.86, respectively as well as a career highest score of 270 and 344 not out.

Wisden judged Headley to be the best batsman of the 1939 season while other critics rated him among the best batsmen in the world, with favorable comparisons to Bradman.

B. Fry, a former England captain turned journalist, wrote that Headley’s “middle name should be Atlas,” suggesting that he carried the team on his shoulders.

If in the past Headley was likened to the Atlas of Greek mythology fame — a Titan condemned to hold up the sky for eternity after the Titanomachy.

Then, surely today, young Windies rising batting star Evin Lewis ought to be nicknamed Hercules — a Roman hero and a god who was famous for his strength and his numerous far-ranging adventures.

Lewis though relatively new to Windies cricket setup has shown his ability to instill fear in bowlers and the opposition through sheer brute force and power batting, albeit genuine and exquisite cricket shots.

Lewis was born on December 21, 1991, and cricket aficionados would facetiously say born with a bat in his hands.

He bears the last name of a former Jamaica and West Indies opening and dashing wicket-keeper batsman — Desmond Lewis.

However, except for the flashing batting style and opening batsman position, Evin bears no relationship to the man from Jamaica whom many believe was hard done by the West Indies selectors back in the days.

Evin Lewis is the younger of two brothers for his parents Earl and Dawn. He grew up in the Southeast town of Rio Claro in Trinidad and Tobago.

He announced his cricketing prowess with the bat in 2008 by scoring three consecutive centuries for Princes Town Senior Comprehensive in the PowerGen Secondary Schools Cricket League.

And by the end of the season, the talented and exciting opening left-handed batsman tallied close to 700 runs in the secondary school’s competition and captured the coveted “Cricketer of the Year” award for his achievements.

In the same year, he represented T&T in his debut match against Jamaica in the TCL Group West Indies Cricket Under-19 Challenge League.

By the time the dust was all settled in that drawn encounter, Lewis had piled on 140 runs not out. His inning included 12 fours and three sixes.

Moreover, he amassed a total of 383 runs, thus becoming the leading run-scorer for T&T by the end of the League Championship.

Later in the year, he was named as one of the five “Cricketers of the Year” of the South-East Zonal Council of the T&T Cricket Board, scoring 411 runs for Rio Sports in the Division One competitions.

Since then, Lewis has played in all formats of the domestic competition where he continues to impress with his batting.

However, he is yet to receive his cap from Windies selectors in Test, and this has local and international commentators as well as fans puzzled.

His batting exploits tell of his herculean feats — a first-class century, two T20 centuries, 125 not out off 62 deliveries with six fours and 12 sixes at Sabina Park versus India earlier this year.

Additionally, he made 100 off 49 deliveries with five fours and seven sixes against India in Florida last year.

Moreover, he scored an ODI century, against Sri Lanka last year, blasting 148 off 122 deliveries with 15 fours and four sixes.

He also blasted 91 off 51 deliveries against Pakistan last year, 97 not out off 32 deliveries against the Patriots this year, and 50 off 28 deliveries against England, also this year. 

And more recently, he manhandled England’s ODI bowling attack hitting 176 and then forced to retire hurt after his plunder.

Well-known Jamaican, journalist, and cricket writer Tony Becca described that innings as sheer brilliance.

He noted, “Lewis faced 130 deliveries, hit 17 fours and seven sixes, with the last 76 coming off 36 deliveries in the West Indies innings of 356 for five off 50 overs after the tourists were tottering and in trouble. It was simply authentic power-hitting, and there was hardly any ‘swiping’ or ‘slogging.’”

Furthermore, he said, “It was an innings that can lead to victory in Test matches, and it was an innings which, field-placing restrictions or not, bowling restrictions or not, was reminiscent of Roy Fredericks’s assault at Perth in 1975-76 when he smashed 169 not out off 145 deliveries to beat Australia, and of the day in 1984 when Gordon Greenidge blasted 214 not out off 241 deliveries to beat England at Lord’s.”

Lewis is not only a good cricketer but an excellent one in the making.

There is no doubt that this 24-year-old lad has all that it takes to become the next batting sensation in the Caribbean and beyond.

Lewis — a batting talent from Godddddddd!

Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow

Edited by Jesus Chan

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