UNCAPPED left-handed opening batsman Jeremy Solozano wants to prove the selectors made the right choice after he was selected for the West Indies two-match Test tour of Sri Lanka, which bowls off at 12.30 am (TT time), on Sunday.
The second match will be played from November 29-December 3. Both matches will be played at the Galle International Stadium in Galle, Sri Lanka.
The teams played to a 0-0 tie in a two-match Test series in the Caribbean earlier this year.
On Friday, in a Zoom interview, Solozano said, “To be honest, I am not really dwelling on my stats too much in First Class cricket. This is a new chapter in my career, a new stage in my career. I am looking forward to having a great career in Test cricket and once given the chance, I will like to prove the selectors right by giving them good performances.”
Solozano, 26, is a former West Indies Under-19 player. He played 40 First Class matches between 2013 and 2020 at a batting average of 23.4.
In List A cricket his statistics are more impressive, with an average of 39 in ten matches.
Solozano has had some creditable performances as a member of the West Indies A team in the past. In a warm-up match ahead of the Sri Lanka tour he struck 74 off 216 deliveries batting for Team Brathwaite at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua.
The West Indies selectors have given many openers an opportunity to show their quality at Test level over the past decade. Only Kraigg Brathwaite, now captain of the West Indies Test team, has found a level of consistency at the top of the order.
John Campbell and Kieran Powell, both left-handers, are the two latest openers to be tried and tested with little success.
Campbell has an average of 23.7 in 15 Test matches played since 2019. Powell, who has played 44 matches at an average of 25.8, has been used periodically since 2011.
Solozano does not feel under pressure to become a reliable batsman for West Indies.
“With the environment that I am in with the team, there is no pressure. It is just to go out there and enjoy (cricket), and I believe once you enjoy your game and enjoy training, everything will just fall into place.”
Solozano said he has received advice from fellow opener Brathwaite over the past weeks.
“I have been with Kraigg since the camp in Antigua. He and I always together, always talking. (I am) trying to feed off him as much as I could (and) gain from his experiences. He has been sharing a lot of knowledge and we have been keeping close from since Antigua to now. It is just to keep that bond and to keep learning and growing, once given the opportunity to play as my career begins.”
Solozano is enjoying the atmosphere around the West Indies camp.
“Since coming here the mood has been very good. I have been welcomed by all my teammates, it’s like a family here. No complaints, it feels really comfortable (and) happy.”
If the name Solozano rings a bell it’s because Jeremy’s relative Brenda Solozano-Rodney is a former West Indies Women’s cricketer in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Solozano said Brenda was one of the first people he spoke to after being called up to the West Indies team.
“As the team was released, that was one of the first persons to call me, so I have definitely spoken to her.”
Solozano’s father Michael has been one of his number one supporters during his cricket career. He always has a keen eye on the matches in the stands when Solozano is representing the TT Red Force.