ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Enigmatic opener Kieran Powell has once again made himself available for West Indies duty and hopes he can force his way back into the Caribbean side.
The 26-year-old returned from a mysterious self-imposed break from the regional game last month, playing two games for Leeward Islands Hurricanes in the just concluded Regional first class championship.
During his time away, Powell flirted with baseball, undergoing a couple of trials for Major League Baseball franchises.
And while noting he had not completely given up on baseball, he stressed cricket would be his immediate focus.
“Obviously cricket has always been my first love. It’s something that comes naturally to me and I’m really good at it,” said Powell.
“That’s why I’m back playing first-class cricket. I’m fully ready whenever they (West Indies) need me. [West Indies head coach] Phil Simmons wanted me to play the games to make myself eligible for selection. I’ve fulfilled my end of the bargain.”
Prior to disappearing from the spotlight, Powell was viewed as one of the brightest batting prospects in the Caribbean.
The left-hander had captained West Indies A and the Hurricanes, and was solidifying himself as a credible option as a reliable Test opener. He has played 21 Tests, scoring 1072 runs with three centuries – two of these coming in the same Test against Bangladesh in Dhaka four years ago.
Powell’s last Test was two years ago when New Zealand toured the Caribbean and he now believes he has a good chance of competing for an opening slot in the side.
“I saw that [selector] Courtney Browne had mentioned my name in an interview saying something about opening batsmen and positions being available,” Powell said.
“I think my return has already opened the minds of the selectors to my possible return to international cricket.”
He added: “They know my number, they know my email address so they can get in contact with me. I’m willing to open dialogue and see where it goes.”
Powell announced his return emphatically, stroking a hasty 55 off 54 balls in the Hurricanes first innings of 430 against repeat champions Guyana Jaguars.
The match was his first first-class game in a year and his first on Caribbean soil in two years, and he admitted it took some getting used to.
“It’s sort of like taking a shark out of water and then setting it back in. You need to learn to swim again.”
West Indies have a busy upcoming schedule, hosting the one-day Tri-Nations Series involving Australia and South Africa in June, and a four-match Test series against India beginning in July.
The Caribbean side will also take on Pakistan in two Tests, five One-Day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals in the United Arab Emirates starting in October.