PERHAPS you’ve attended a cricket match and noticed a woman in the stands with the name “Emrit” on her team jersey.
Basdai Molly Emrit, mother of former national captain Rayad Emrit, is usually sitting quietly, nervously watching the action on the field.
While enjoying a cricket match with her husband Carl or family members, she is always keen to offer a stranger something from her picnic bag.
But that must be done during a break, because during overs she is focused on the outfield, and particularly her only son.
Explaining her emotions when she sees him play, Basdai said, "Being at the game gives me goosebumps, but it is an amazing feeling. However, when I’m at home I can focus on the game better.”
Basdai said she knew Rayad was destined for greatness long before he made his debut for TT in 2003. He began playing with his dad`s windball team at age seven but she only began attending his matches when he was playing for his school team, El Dorado Senior Comprehensive (now El Dorado East Secondary) School.
She explained how they decided for him to become a professional cricketer. “I always pushed academics but when I realised how dedicated he was to cricket and how well he was doing, my husband and I supported him all the way.”
The mother of four has watched her son blossom into one of the region's top all-rounders.
“I feel very proud, yet humbled when he is playing. The emotions can be difficult to contain at times, especially when he has an excellent game.”
Basdai's advice to her son when he does not perform well is always to put faith in God.
“Everyone has bad days. Never give up, and keep putting God first.”
With social media's popularity and the passion for cricket, people aren't shy about expressing hurtful comments when a player does not perform well. Basdai has a coping mechanism for not getting in a tit-for-tat with fans when she hears them attacking her son.
“I tend to contain myself and not let them get to me. Sometimes it can be very difficult to do so, especially when I hear the things people would say, but I always refrain from commenting.”
She was particularly aggrieved in 2018 when Guyana Amazon Warriors fans blamed Emrit for losing the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) final to Trinbago Knight Riders. Despite being one of their consistent players, Emrit was accused of "selling out" to his compatriots after conceding 47 runs in three overs at the Brian Lara Stadium, Tarouba.
Basdai said although she understands criticism comes with the job of a cricketer, the accusations of "selling out" were nonsense.
"I was very annoyed and disappointed by the comments. I know he gives his all for whatever team he plays for.
“I told him ignore what everybody has to say, don’t let them get him down, keep praying and everything is going to be better. The family is here to support him and will always be by his side."
Rayad, 39, has had an impressive career, having played for the Red Force and West Indies and also made appearances in the CPL, Pakistan Super League, Bangladesh Premier League, Canada T20 and Shpageeza Cricket League in Afghanistan. It was his appearance in the latter in 2017 which caused Basdai a fright, when a suicide bomber killed at least three people outside the Alokozay Kabul International Cricket Ground in Kabul where Rayad was playing.
Rayad told Newsday, "It sounded like it was right outside the stadium. They said it was three kilometres (away), but it felt right there. We were fielding and heard a loud explosion and the whole ground started to shake."
Rayad initially tried to hide the news from his mother as he did not want her to be worried. Thousands of miles away, Basdai could do nothing but cry.
"When I saw the news, I was devastated, started to panic and cry. I wasn’t good until I spoke to him and knew for sure everything was good and he was coming home."
For an athlete, a support base is essential and Rayad is fortunate to have one. His mother has travelled to India, Guyana, Barbados, St Kitts/Nevis, the US and St Lucia to support him. Basdai admitted that her knowledge for the game has significantly improved since she started following the game closely.
“My husband and I have always put everything aside to be there and give all our support. Me being a housewife and my husband self-employed, we would always make the time – even if it is a working day – to show up, because support goes a long way.”
Basdai said her love for her only son sometimes gets her in trouble with her other children: her three daughters sometimes accuse her of showing special attention to Rayad. But she assures them she loves each equally. She agreed that motherhood is challenging at times, but she enjoys every minute.
“Patience, love, self-determination and discipline are the key ingredients in being a good mother. Being a mother gives you a purpose in life.”
It’s worth it “to live to see all your children's successes and to know all the sacrifices that were made paid off in the end.”
Basdai, originally from Gasparillo, has been married to Carl for 43 years and enjoys being a housewife. She often wonders what her life would have been if she had become an accountant. But those thoughts are quickly dismissed, and she practises her skills daily by budgeting the household accounts.
The grandmother of six cherishes family time and sees it as one of the positives during the covid19 pandemic.
“Family is everything. Live in the moment and don’t take anything or anyone for granted.”
When she isn't planning or worrying about her family members' whereabouts, she can be found in front of the television, glued to Zee TV, Lifetime or watching old cricket matches. Her son is grateful for her support and feels blessed.
Rayad said, "Words can`t express what my mother means to me. There is nothing that she wouldn’t do for me and even if she is busy, she is always there for me. I am truly blessed to have her in my life and I pray that she will be here for a long time to come.
"She still calls or messages to ensure that I eat every day, and when she cooks my favourite meal she makes sure that I am there to eat it. I love you, Mummy."