FORMER West Indies Under-19 vice-captain Kirstan Kallicharan is relishing the opportunity to train with the TT Red Force and is especially grateful for the words of advice from his senior team-mates.
Kallicharan has been training and playing practice matches with the Red Force at the National Cricket Centre in Couva and at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba. Red Force are preparing for the Cricket West Indies Regional Super50 tournament which will be played in Antigua from February 4 to 27.
Several experienced cricketers have been training leading up to the tournament including Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Rayad Emrit, Denesh Ramdin, Imran Khan and Ravi Rampaul.
Discussing training, Kallicharan said, “It is going great so far. I started with them last year July. Ever since then I enjoy being here. It is a great opportunity for myself and being around the older guys getting some experience and learning something from them.”
Kallicharan, 21, represented the West Indies Under-19 team at two International Cricket Council Under-19 World Cups.
He is one of the youngest members of the team which won the title at the 2016 World Cup. Two years later he was the vice-captain at the 2018 edition working alongside captain Emmanuel Stewart.
The right-handed batsman has always had an appetite for runs. In 2014, Kallicharan broke Brian Lara’s Secondary Schools Cricket League Under-14 record by scoring an unbeaten 404 for Vishnu Boys Hindu College. It was a 35-over contest.
Kallicharan transferred to Hillview College in the latter stages of his school career.
Kallicharan, who scored 57 off 77 deliveries in the last Red Force practice match on Monday, spoke about his transition into senior cricket.
“I am satisfied with it. It could have been a lot better, but sometimes you have your ups and downs and I just have to accept the downfalls of my faults before and learn from it and be better in the future. I have been around the older guys since I was Under-13, so I have been around them for a long time. They taught me a lot and I could see the improvement since then.”
Kallicharan, a member of Queen’s Park Cricket Club, has been leaning on his fellow club mate Bravo for advice.
“Being part of this set up (is great). For example, I have spoken to Bravo about my batting and my achievements so far in cricket and what I could improve on. When I was batting with him today (Wednesday) in the nets he taught me a few things.”
He added, “It’s just about going and practise it and get better at whatever I do, but it has been really good being around them. You could talk to them and they are very humble…I do appreciate them being here and talking to me and having conversations to improve my own game.”
Some of Kallicharan’s team-mates at Under-19 level, including Stewart, played in the 2020 Regional Four-Day tournament.
Kallicharan is eyeing similar opportunities. “Looking at them…and seeing them excel I am very happy for them. Is always about time and place for everything.”
He knows earning selection for the Red Force can be challenging with the huge crop of players.
“It’s a lot harder in Trinidad to make the team because of the senior players TT has, but I have to still put in the work and I know once I do well and perform I have a great chance of being on the TT senior team.”