Powell says months of work on weakness paid off
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Rovman Powell with head coach Phil Simmons.
Rovman Powell with head coach Phil Simmons.

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (CMC) – In the last few months that right-handed batsman Rovman Powell was absent from the West Indies team, he worked on overcoming his problem facing wrist spin, and he said his century in the third match of the Betway T20 International Series showed the hard work paid off. He’s hoping it marked a breakthrough in his international performance.

Powell, who played only four T20Is last year, became the third West Indies batsman to score a T20I hundred when his 107 off 53 balls at Kensington Oval helped West Indies to a 2-1 lead in the five-match series on Wednesday.

The Player-of-the-Match said he had been preparing himself for a comeback and had improved his game overall, which he believed observers could see during his performance in the Abu Dhabi T10 tournament last November.

“I think I’m in very good form. I told the guys I’m sure that I’m one of the best in the world at the moment when it comes to hitting the ball and it started from the T10. When I went there, I just tried to express myself and catch back the eyes of the selectors and now everything is coming to fruition,” he said.

“I hope it’s a breakthrough international performance. It’s just for me now to go back to the drawing board, think about the stuff that I did right and hopefully I can replicate it come Saturday.”

Adding that he also made a specific effort to work on his weaknesses, Powell said: “I know that can strike the ball well but I also have a little bit of wrist spin problem. Every time I start my innings they come and bowl wrist spin. So, I went away and for the last six, seven months I’ve just been working on wrist spin and trying to open up the offside and I think that showed today.”

Powell arrived at the crease at number four in the sixth over, when the West Indies were 48 for two.

He said skipper Kieron Pollard had told him the night before of that possibility and he had mentally prepared himself for it.

“I started to think back to some of my good innings and started to come up with a game plan. I think that plan served me well today. When I walked out to bat, I was confident because for the last five months I’ve been working hard and stroking the ball well so that confidence transferred into the game,” the Jamaican said.

Explaining the move to place him ahead of expected number four Darren Bravo and pair him with vice-captain Nicholas Pooran, Powell said the plan was to split up the two left-handers against England spinner Adil Rashid.

“We know Rashid is the most threatening of all the bowlers, so all we did is see if we could get 24 or 30 off him… just to limit his wicket count and take our chances against the other bowlers the other 16 overs,” he explained.

“We didn’t want two right-handers to be at the crease. We wanted a right-hander and a left-hander and once both batters communicate and share the workload, that is what [brought] us success today.”

The tactic paid off, with Powell able to hit four fours and ten sixes on his way to a century and vice-captain Nicholas Pooran scoring 70 from 43 deliveries, the pair putting on 122 in a new West Indies record for the third wicket.

The final two matches are on Saturday and Sunday, at Kensington Oval. First ball is 4pm (3pm Jamaica/8pm UK).

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