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Champions Trophy 2006

'The first hero was my Dad' - Taylor

Dileep Premachandran at Ahmedabad

October 26, 2006

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'On an individual level, I'd like to be among the top 10 fast bowlers in the world' © Getty Images
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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 Cricinfo

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Dileep Premachandran Associate editor Dileep Premachandran gave up the joys of studying thermodynamics and strength of materials with a view to following in the footsteps of his literary heroes. Instead, he wound up at the Free Press Journal in Mumbai, writing on sport and politics before Gentleman gave him a column called Replay. A move to MyIndia.com followed, where he teamed up with Sambit Bal, and he arrived at ESPNCricinfo after having also worked for Cricket Talk and total-cricket.com. Sunil Gavaskar and Greg Chappell were his early cricketing heroes, though attempts to emulate their silken touch had hideous results. He considers himself obscenely fortunate to have watched live the two greatest comebacks in sporting history - India against invincible Australia at the Eden Gardens in 2001, and Liverpool's inc-RED-ible resurrection in the 2005 Champions' League final. He lives in Bangalore with his wife, who remains astonishingly tolerant of his sporting obsessions.
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