THIRTY-NINE-YEAR-OLD pacer Rayad Emrit has no intention of retiring from the gentleman’s game soon.
Having played 18 years of professional cricket, the renowned athlete has already dedicated more than half of his life to the sport and is bound on extending his illustrious career.
He has lifted multiple regional titles with the TT Red Force and also tasted CPL victory in 2014 with the Barbados Tridents, among a list of other international trophy-winning performances.
At the Global T20 in Canada last year, Emrit led Winnipeg Hawks to the crown by conquering Shoaib Malik’s Vancouver Knights. He was also a part of the TT teams which won the Regional 50-Over Tournament, Regional T20 and now-defunct Stanford 20/20.
Three weeks ago, Emrit captained the St Kitts/Nevis Patriots to a tough sixth-place finish at the recently concluded Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 tournament.
He also serves as national Under-17 coach, but the continued prohibition of most outdoor sport, owing to the covid19 pandemic, has halted individual contact training for these upcoming players.
For the 2020 domestic season, Emrit represented Police Sports Club. His name is also among several veterans vying for the job of TT Red Force coach.
This appointment, however, has been put on hold by the TT Cricket Board (TTCB), which believes it would be unfeasible to make such an appointment during the pandemic.
With the resumption of cricket still uncertain due to the continued spread of the virus locally, Emrit remains intent on pushing on with his decorated career.
“I definitely want to get into more coaching after my playing career. But I have no sights of retiring from playing or even considering such a move at the moment. Once I stay fit and healthy, I want to continue playing. I’m still enjoying it and that’s the most important thing.
“They (TTCB) haven’t chosen a (senior) coach as yet. My name is there. If given the opportunity I’ll accept it. I know it’s going to hamper me playing in other tournaments that I would like to play in, but if I get the job, I’ll have to make a decision,” he said.
Looking back on this year’s daunting CPL performance by St Kitts/Nevis Patriots, the franchise captain was disappointed with the team’s showing, especially the batsmen.
TT’s Evin Lewis (89) and tournament debutant Joshua Da Silva (59) were the only two players to get past 50 runs for the St Kitts/Nevis franchise throughout the entire tourney.
In the end, Emrit’s squad won one, lost eight and recorded a no result (rain) during its ten-game display.
He also admitted the last-minute loss of Simon Helmot (who tested positive for coronavirus before travelling to the Caribbean) as team coach played a big factor in the team’s motivation.
“It’s no secret but our batting failed us terribly. We didn’t have the best of preparations. We only had two practice sessions for the entire tournament. Every time we had training there was a lot of rain.
“As professionals, I didn’t think our batters stood up and did the dirty work. Only Evin Lewis and Da Silva showed some brilliance with the bat. That was the reason for our sixth place in the CPL this year.”
Emrit though, still saw many positives emerging out of this year’s historic CPL, which saw the tournament contested in a “bio-secure bubble.”
“We saw yet again a young Dominic Drakes proving how well he can do and keep improving. It’s unfortunate he didn’t get to play many games but he is one of the bright stars for the CPL that I think will go a long way.
“Da Silva also got a few opportunities and once he gets more experience, I think would go on to play West Indies cricket. He has a big future in the longer version of the game.
“Jon-Russ Jagessar bowled well throughout while Imran Khan also showed, in the few games he played, what he’s capable of. As a team, we were still disappointed for the overall performance,” he said.
Emrit concluded this year’s T20 competition as the second-highest wicket-taker in CPL history with his haul of 96 wickets. Trinbago Knight Riders’ Dwayne Bravo leads the field with 106 wickets while Jamaican Krishmar Santokie sits in third position with 85.
Emrit also credited Patriots’ coaching staff Courtney Walsh, Mark O’Donnell and Stuart Williams for their contributions to the team at the 2020 edition.
Although cricket has been suspended on local soil, international tournaments such as the Indian Premier League are under way, while West Indies are gearing up to tour New Zealand in November/December.
Looking ahead, Emrit remains optimistic.
“I’ll try to continue my training and whatever opportunity arises I’ll try to grab at it. I think I had a decent tournament because of the hard work I put in prior to the CPL. We’ve been starved (cricket) a lot. It’s a pandemic around the world, not only in TT, so we have to take the necessary precautions.”
With regard to the 2021 CPL, Emrit admitted his place in the team is dependent on the franchise’s owners.
“I am happy at St Kitts and it’s a nice franchise. The management has been excellent. I’m very happy there and hopefully I can be there next year,” he concluded.