Interview: " Playing in the World Cup was my biggest cricketing moment" says Windies player Kirk Edwards
Kirk Edwards is a 33-year-old batsman who has represented West Indies in international cricket. He was also a part of the Windies squad in the 2011 ICC World Cup. Furthermore, he has 2 centuries and 8 half centuries in his test career.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Edwards talks about his entire cricketing career.
You scored a century in your international debut itself. What was that feeling when you reached that milestone?
Edwards: The feeling was exceptional. I felt like what I've been working at it for so many years has all come together at the right moment. I also felt that if I didn't come big in that game it could have been my first and last match at international level. Thus, I was massively weight-lifted.
You were a part of the West Indies team in the 2011 ICC World Cup. How would you like to describe your experience of playing in a World Cup?
Edwards: My experience playing in the World Cup was my biggest cricketing moment. I played my first international game against India at Chennai. So, one can definitely imagine how massive that was in terms of crowd. The stage was set and I totally enjoyed the moment as many cricket enthusiasts very watching my performances.
You've been the vice-captain of the West Indies side in several matches? How did you take up this responsibility?
Edwards: Me being the vice-captain of the team came very naturally because I've always been a captain or vice-captain even if not appointed from the point of view of thinking of ways to influence a game positively from a teams point of view.
I always share my thoughts with whatever team I'm playing for and encourage everyone to work towards the common goal of playing the best cricket we can play regardless of win, draw or lose.
Of course, the main aim is to win and that's what we all play for but sometimes you could be out-played which is fine once you have ticked all your boxes.
You were the first person to score a century at Windsor Park in Dominica. How do you look at this accomplishment?
Edwards: I never looked at that until you asked me to answer this question, to be honest. That to me isn't a big deal, what is more important is the joy I was able to bring to the beautiful people of Dominica and the Caribbeans. I always love to play match-saving innings.
Recently, you've been selected in the Windward Islands national cricket team. Are you seeing it as a way to return to the Windies team?
Edwards: I've faced a massive challenge in my country as far as my cricket is concerned. Basically, I've captained Barbados team to win a Championship.
The team won it for the first time in 7 years. However, I was removed as the captain without any explanation or notification. I became the first captain in the history who never got to defend a title.
Furthermore, after few weeks I was expelled from the Regional super 50 tournament in 2014 by the same board for not accepting 2 pants and 2 shirts for 2 years.
This took a massive toll on me as a player mentally and I was never the same player. So by playing for the Windwards, I see it as a chance to find myself as a player again and in the meantime pass on some info, I gathered over my past 10 years as a pro to the young talented players in that team.
Playing for Windies is ultimate, but I never wanted to play unless I'm totally up for it. Windwards has seen the importance of having me and I'm grateful for that.
What prompted you to choose cricket as your career? Who has helped you in your ups and downs?
Edwards: I come from a family where cricket is as a big thing. My dad has been the main influence along with my uncles who all played.
Strange enough my mum first took me and signed me up at the age of 6 with coach Richard Straker. I was very small then, but my passion and bravery allowed me to play with guys bigger and older.
My family and close friends have been a great deal. My wife, Sheena has been there for me a great deal in terms of easing my mind when certain vindictive things were thrown my way and I'm grateful for that because it's not easy when, who you represent wants your head.
I'm sure many others could relate to other walks of life. Also in my community, whether I score 150 or 2 I get the same love and respect and that has helped me to always be able to keep a calm headspace.
Windies has given few disappointing results in Test cricket in past few months. What can be the reason for such a decline of Windies performance in Test Cricket?
Edwards: A lot of the results are due to lack of experience. When I played I was dying to play with Sarwan, Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Corey Collymore.
These players are the ones who encouraged me as a youth player. I was on the job of learning on my own where I did a decent job because I was successful in giving few considerable performances.
However, now the majority of the team are guys I've either captained in A team or for Barbados team. Furthermore, a lot of them were fast-tracked.
I would say that spending more time in 1st class cricket would have helped a great deal. The talent isn't a question but rather the experience to deal with failure and the inability to defeat professionals from elsewhere who have way more experience and tricks of the trade.
Shai Hope is a great example, he really took the world after about 9 tests where people questioned if he is good enough due to him being green and having to find his way at international level without experienced players there to help him.
I always knew he is a world class player, but he is in a tough situation of establishing himself and be the top gun at the same time. The team also has a very young captain who hardly ever captained a 1st class side as well.
So you could imagine the challenge he is having so I'm never one to sit around and criticize as I understand the position majority of these young talented players are in.
The fans feel the pain and that in turn hurts players. However, they always try their best to represent themselves in the best possible way.