Peters savours tough debut

On a slow Port Elizabeth track against a well-set South Africa line-up, being patient was the only way to get wickets, according to debutant Kenroy Peters

Kenroy Peters appeals for a wicket, South Africa v West Indies, 2nd Test, Port Elizabeth, 1st day, December 26, 2014

Kenroy Peters - "You just have to believe in yourself because fewer mistakes are being made by the batsman so bowlers had to work extra hard to get wickets"  •  AFP

To Ethan Peters, seven weeks old, your father presents the wicket of Dean Elgar, with a warning.
"I don't want you to become a bowler, I want you to bat. I've done the bowling."
On Boxing Day, 2014, Kenroy Peters certainly did. Although he did not have a debut as stellar as Stiaan van Zyl's last week in Centurion, Peters made a long-awaited introduction into international cricket after first bowling against a South African team almost a decade and a half ago.
"When I played my first first-class game it was against South Africa A. Ten years later, I am making my debut against South Africa," Peters remembers. In September 2000, Peters played for Windward Islands against South Africa A and picked 3 for 25 in the first innings. One of his wickets was Robin Peterson, who would have played in this Test had he not hurt his finger three days before the game.
Since that day, Peters has been waiting to play for West Indies but only got his opportunity after an injury ruled Kemar Roach out of the tour. Although he is 32-years old, Peters said he never gave up on the dream to represent the islands and it came true when he was named in the starting XI and tasked with opening the bowling.
"I always believed that if I played first-class cricket and did well my chance would come," he said. "I got the joyous news that I had been called up on Saturday last week and then I was told yesterday morning that I would open the bowling. That time put me in the frame of my mind to get myself ready and also prepare myself for the days' play."
Peters' said he experienced a mixture of "joy and butterflies," and tried to calm them by reminding himself not to expect anything less than a challenge. "You just have to believe in yourself because fewer mistakes are being made by the batsman so bowlers had to work extra hard to get wickets."
On a slow Port Elizabeth track against a South African line-up well versed in the patience game, that was only more enhanced so Peters went back to basics. "The first spell was about trying to assess the conditions," he said. In doing that he saw that, "The South African batsmen are excellent batsmen but they tend to play on their back foot a lot so I tried to bowl a bit fuller and to see if I can get success from just being patient."
Ultimately that was the only way to get through South Africa and after 12 overs, Peters was rewarded when Dean Elgar chased a wide one. The discipline paid off.
Despite not bowling at a great pace, extracting great bounce or moving the ball any great amount, Peters had done what he always thought he could. He proved that with what he had, he could do well. "I always believe once I step on the cricket field I am No.1. When you are on the field, it's you and the ball. It's not about who is No.1 and No.2," he said. And then, he thought of young Ethan and dedicated the wicket to him.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent