I’ll Cherish It and Relish a Debut at Home, Says Athanaze

Alick Athanaze says he is excited early but calm as he prepares to face India in the opening Test here starting Wednesday. The team for the match has not yet been announced but the 24-year-old is poised to make his Test debut on his home ground at Windsor Park in Dominica.

“My main focus right now is to really do well and to help the team and contribute to their success as much as possible,” Athanaze said ahead of the match against India. “Playing and looking at those men (Indian opponents) on TV and actually getting to play against them, you couldn’t ask for more, especially with it at home. I’ll cherish it and relish the opportunity.”
Athanaze has made a sensational rise to the ranks of the senior team after scoring heavily in the last West Indies Championship four-day first-class season, gathering 647 runs at an average of 64 while notching two hundred and four half-centuries as captain of the Windward Islands Volcanoes.

That form saw him gain favour with selectors for the Test tour of South Africa earlier this year – though he did not play – and then for the West Indies A tour of Bangladesh where he averaged 44 from three four-day “Tests”.

He subsequently made his senior team debut in a One-Day International against the United Arab Emirates last month, lashing a rapid 65 off just 45 balls.

Athanaze said he was a naturally attacking player and there were no plans to change his approach against the Indians.

“We have planned as a batting unit … but it is up to me to formulate how I will score runs against them. But my game plans basically remain the same. I am an attacking player and I will try to carry that throughout the Test match [but] just being more responsible.”

Athanaze, a former West Indies Rising Stars Under-19 stand-out player, said he had benefited much from the presence of team performance mentor, legendary batsman Brian Lara.

“I’ve been working hard. I’ve been working closely with Brian and he has contributed a lot to my game mentally,” Athanaze said. “… mentally, and that has helped me to carry my form right throughout the year.”

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