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October 26, 2006
He may only be 22, but Jerome Taylor is already well on course to becoming the Caribbean's premier fast bowler. Consistently quick and capable of swinging the ball late, Taylor is one of the inheritors of a matchless pace-bowling legacy. He may have played just seven Tests and 19 ODIs, but there have been enough signs - the nine-for against India in a Test at Sabina Park, and eye-catching displays in the tri-series in Malaysia - that he'll be around for the long haul. He talked exclusively to Cricinfo about his formative years, and the importance of restoring West Indies cricket to its former glory
How did it all start for you?
My father introduced me to the game as a youngster. He was a cricketer as well, and whenever he went for a game, he took me along with him. I'd sit and watch him and his friends, and it became something that I wanted to do. I started playing in primary school and just continued from there.
What made you want to bowl quick?
I always liked to see the 'keeper collecting the ball above his head, and the ball moving around and creating problems for the batsmen. That was the first thing that attracted me.
Who were the early heroes?
The first hero was my Dad, as I told you. He was a fast bowler as well. But I've always admired Courtney Walsh, Curtley Ambrose and Glenn McGrath. Those guys would be the first to get a mention. Wasim Akram was another that I looked upto.
What are your strengths, and where do you think you can still improve?
My strength is swinging the ball, and control. To be honest, I can still improve when it comes to control. And as you play more games, you learn how to work with the ball more and do more things.
Who are the best batsmen you've bowled to?
Brian Lara, in domestic cricket back home. Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting. They're more challenging. But I'm one of those who's willing to take up that challenge and give it my best shot. If you can trouble guys like Dravid and Sachin, you're doing something right.
What would Jerome Taylor be doing if not for cricket? Did you excel at
any other sport as a kid?
In school, I was doing carpentry, so if I wasn't a cricketer, I'd probably be doing that. I used to do a bit of track and field, but didn't continue with it very long.
What would you like to accomplish in the future?
It's important that we live up to the legacy that the past players have left behind. On an individual level, I'd like to be among the top 10 fast bowlers in the world.
How do you relax once you leave the stadium behind?
Away from cricket, I spend time with the boys, listening to music and going out. Maybe a party here and there.
Dileep Premachandran is features editor of CricinfoFeeds: Dileep Premachandran
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