It was a great experience – Youth cricketer reflects on UK tour

1. Essan Warner (left) was a recent guest on the Good Morning JoJo Sports show.
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By Carlena Knight

One of the youth cricketers who recently returned from England is encouraging other young players to jump on board and try to get the kind of exposure that he did.

Essan Warner, while speaking on his trip to England, explained it is something he would encourage other cricketers to do as it helps them to gain some much-needed experience, especially if they are hoping to, one day, break into the mold of the various West Indies teams.

“Getting that experience to play in those conditions at an early age makes a massive difference in terms of you going forward because when you play for West Indies or when you play for a franchise team or whatever, you have to play in those conditions. So, if you learn and come up through those conditions at an early stage, you should be fine in terms of playing at a higher standard than you are now playing, and that should give you that extra push,” Warner explained.

He was one of five Antiguan cricketers who travelled to the UK as part of a cricket exchange between England and Antigua Barbuda. Warner played with the Colston Bassett Cricket Club in Nottingham and recorded several impressive performances with the bat, hitting a double century at 216 not out in one match.

The Bethesda Golden Eagles cricketer revealed that it was the motivation from the other four Antiguans that pushed him to excel even more.

“Going up there the first time, it was just about two of us, but now I see that I have more challenges in terms of scoring runs or competitiveness, because even though we are not playing in the same league, we always talk about every weekend, what we did. So, if I knew this weekend I scored duck, and I heard my other friend scored a 100, I would be looking like the bad one because all of us were there playing for different teams, so everyone may think, you know, what’s happening with him. He’s not doing anything for our club. It just gives that extra push in terms of playing for the club and performing,” he said.

This is the second time that Warner has made the trip to England to play cricket.

He spoke on the experience this time around.

“This year was lovely. I scored the amount of runs that I think I wanted to score. Well, I got more than I accounted for going up there so, it was a massive achievement doing that this year. It was good, not just in terms of playing cricket, but just experiencing the different culture and staying with a different family. It’s a massive change in terms of being down here,” Warner added.

Despite his rise in fame locally, Warner said he does not feel any pressure whatsoever to live up to other’s expectations. Instead, he is hoping to focus on his game and one day achieve his ultimate goal.

“I will still continue training. Some of the guys are supposed to be here, and we actually did some try-outs back in England, so we are just waiting to hear if we got picked from one of the two teams that we had try-outs with and then, hopefully, be back up soon. If I am not a professional cricketer, I want to be something in sports. So, I will try to get some kind of coaching thing done, get a level two coaching course done, then work my way up to be anything in cricket, or just sports in general, being a therapist or something else,” Warner mentioned.

Nevertheless, he is advising other young cricketers on how to adapt to playing overseas.

“Just take your time and get accustomed to what you are doing, it will be very different from playing back here. You will be seeing strange faces, but all you have to do is take your time and just execute what you have to do. If you know you have habits down here, in terms of training or whatever, just be disciplined. If you are disciplined then everything should be fine,” Warner stated.

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