PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, (CMC) – His Test debut came almost six months later than scheduled, and on the other side of the World.
But Adrian Barath made the occasion a memorable experience, and has left his family and well-wishers at home in Trinidad &Tobago yearning for more of the same.
Barath was tipped to make his Test debut in the tumultuous home series against Bangladesh earlier this year.
He however, followed an edict from the West Indies Players’ Association, and followed the leading players in walking out on the series and the West Indies Cricket Board three days before the opening Test at Arnos Vale.
As the wrangle between the WICB and the players escalated, Barath may have questioned the wisdom of his decision, and even cursed the timing of WIPA’s call for action.
Both sides relented, following the intervention of Caribbean leaders, and soon enough, Barath was given his passage for the trip Down Under.
He gave a hint that he may turn the opening Test into a historic occasion, when he made a match-saving 74 in the second innings of the opening match of the tour against Queensland Bulls, following a 20-ball duck after spending nearly half-hour at the crease.
After a brief cameo in the first innings of the opening Test against Australia at the Gabba in Brisbane, and with the visitors following-on 252 behind, the 19-year-old became the youngest West Indies batsman to score a maiden Test hundred on debut.
Barath provided the only resistance by hitting 104, as West Indies were bowled out for 187 in their second innings to stumble to a humiliating innings and 65-run defeat inside three days.
His father Ralph, who has helped to nurture his career, hoped this innings ignites a bright future for the pint-sized opener in the sport.
“Right now, I am overjoyed after Adrian’s performance for the West Indies,” the elder Barath told the CMC Sports Wire.
“He called me at 6 o’clock on Saturday morning, and I can tell you that he is very happy with his performance. He is a bit sad that the team lost, and his aim is to do his part to assist the team.”
Daddy Barath revealed that the entire family was glued to the television watching Adrian unleash his volley of strokes that put him in the same bracket as a small band of West Indians to have achieved the feat – including the late, great George Headley, the late, great Conrad Hunte, Lawrence Rowe, Alvin Kallicharran, and Gordon Greenidge.
“The entire family was up looking at every ball and hoping that Adrian made a century,” the elder Barath said.
“He did us very proud, and we are hoping for the best for him in the future. I told him that the journey has just started, and that he must continue the hard work he started years ago in order to continue his success.”
Baldath Mahabir, one of Trinidad & Tobago’s directors on the WICB executive, is president of Clarke’s Road United club, the place that Barath has played most of his cricket in the last few years, indicated that members were all very ecstatic after witnessing Barath’s performance.
“We saw tremendous talent in this boy, and at the age of 14, we started to invest in his development,” Mahabir said. “He has done well, and we wish him all the best in the future.
“What you are seeing is raw talent. Imagine what he can do when he learns the trade properly. At the moment, it is important that his team-mates keep him planted, so that this performance does not go to his head. I am confident that he won’t allow it because he has his head in the right place.”
Azim Bassarath, the new president of the T&T Cricket Board, disclosed that years ago he spotted Barath , when he was an umpire officiating in a game between South and Central.
“Barath got 45 in the game and I remember going home and telling my two sons that they should take note of this name Barath because he would make it big,” Bassarath said.
“He has done very well, and must continue to remain humble and work hard to achieve continued success.
“He must remember that his next innings starts at zero, so he must go out there and start the process all over again, and don’t let it go to his head.”
The second Test between Australia and West Indies begins on Friday (7:30 p.m. on Thursday – East Caribbean Time) in Adelaide.