October 23, 2002

Sanford looking to regain place in WI team

Adam Sanford isn't exactly your typically menacing fast bowler.

He doesn't have the build of a Wes Hall, the speed of a Malcolm Marshall, the swing of an Imran Khan or the accuracy of a Curtly Ambrose.

But the Dominica-born Sanford has surely brought something refreshing to the local club scene.

The first ever Carib descendant to represent the West Indies, Sanford, now a resident of Antigua, made his Division 1 debut for ICB Empire last weekend and wasted no time in making an impact.

His opening day performance on Saturday was up and down, but he created a stir on Sunday evening with a six-wicket second innings haul in the local derby against Big B Spartan.

Presented with the usual tinge of green at the Bank Hall ground, he generated discomforting bounce that undid Spartan batsmen without much of a fight.

It created a buzz around the ground, but Sanford admitted that he wasn't even at full stretch.

"I am still rusty. I haven't been playing cricket for some time. I am trying to get back into it and things just worked out," he told MIDWEEK SPORT.

In this case, he heaped praise on some of his teammates who hauled in catches close to the wicket that were offered by batsmen who could not handle him.

The only Spartan batsman who showed any resistance was gutsy 16-year-old Kevin Stoute, who batted solidly for a courageous, unbeaten 33.

"It was built on teamwork. At the end of the day, the players helped me out by taking the catches," Sanford said.

His display on Sunday was in sharp contrast to his opening spell the previous day when he conceded 27 runs from his first five overs.

He came back in later spells to tidy up and took three wickets. "My last game before this was in the Red Stripe Bowl [in September]," he said. "When I was home, I did a little practice, but nothing too serious. The muscles were tight and I was trying to get loose."

The Bank Hall pitch had its usual grass, but Sanford said it wasn't exactly a fast bowler's delight. "In the first innings, the wicket was a bit soft. There was moisture in it, but when you hit the ball on the deck, it wasn't doing much. "It was seaming a bit, but there was no extra pace on the Saturday morning. During the afternoon, it was picking up."

After his exploits on Sunday evening, Sanford rushed off to the "hot pot" at the Brighton beach. "It's a very good way to cool down," he said. "There were some aches and pains in the muscles and I wanted to go there and cool down. I spent about 20 minutes."

Sanford was prompted to come to Barbados mainly to regain fitness because of a lack of serious activity in Antigua and the opportunity was created for him by Barbados Cricket Association board member Bobby Goodman. His ultimate aim is to regain the place he earned in the West Indies team after missing out on selection for the current tour of India.

"I was rather disappointed, but there is nothing I can do about it. It has happened. It is life. I didn't do enough to impress the selectors. Next time around, I've got to work on certain areas of my game and hopefully I'll get recalled," he said.

His progress this year was rapid. Prior to this season, he had played just a solitary first-class match for the Windward Islands, but got the opportunity to represent the Leeward Islands after impressive performances for Antigua, where he is a policeman. During this year's Busta Series, he claimed 41 wickets - the most by a fast bowler - and followed up with 20 wickets in the seven Test matches against India and New Zealand.