Fast-tracked into 13-man shortlist, Jayden Seales hopes to build on 'dream come true'
The 19-year-old Trinidad & Tobago quick could make his Test debut despite having played just one first-class match
Jayden Seales has played just one first-class match, but the 19-year-old quick has impressed the West Indies selectors enough to be drafted into the 13-man shortlist for the first Test against South Africa. It's already "a dream come true" for Seales, and he is hoping for more.
"Firstly, it's a dream come true being in the set-up. Being in the final 13 obviously was a goal of mine," he said in a press interaction. "Just a matter of me now hoping that I get to play the first Test match and do my best for the team."
The Trinidad & Tobago bowler made his first-class debut last December, turning out for West Indies A in New Zealand, where he picked up one wicket. More recently, he took 4 for 40 playing for Team Hamilton in a four-day intra-squad game against Team Blackwood. He had also picked three wickets in the first innings during an intra-squad tour match ahead of the series against Sri Lanka in March.
In all, he has played only ten games at the senior level across formats.
"I didn't play much first-class cricket but I think being in the set-up and training with the team from New Zealand to now I think I've put in a lot of hard work and my body is ready," he said. "Now I've to go out there and perform for the team."
"I've been told I have an action similar to Rabada. In terms of internationals, I look at old West Indian bowlers and now in the set-up I look at Jason, Roachy and Shannon closely."
As far as chief selector Roger Harper is concerned, the lack of experience at the senior level should not be a hindrance for Seales.
"I saw a young bowler perform in games where Test players and the best of our best of our regional first-class players were playing and he performed exceedingly well," Harper said. "Better than a number of players who have been playing first-class cricket for a number of years. The thing is the match wasn't classified as first-class match but those were played by the best of our first-class players.
"I would like to think that if he can perform well in those games against those players, he has the potential to transfer that onto the Test scene."
Seales had attracted attention at the Under-19 World Cup in South Africa last year, taking ten wickets in six matches with an average of 18.30 and an economy rate of 3.89. That helped him secure a CPL deal with the Trinbago Knight Riders for the 2020 season, and he picked up eight wickets in six matches then. He has been retained by the franchise for the new season, and while he isn't looking for idols he is learning from watching his team-mates closely.
"Honestly, I never really try to adapt from any other bowlers," he said. "It just came naturally. I've been told I have an action similar to [Kagiso] Rabada. In terms of internationals, I look at old West Indian bowlers and now in the set-up I look at Jason [Holder], Roachy [Kemar Roach] and Shannon [Gabriel] closely. I try to hear as much from them, learn as much from them and take it under my game."
With Gabriel missing out on selection because of an injury, Seales is happy to take his cues from Roach. "There has been no conversation whether I would take the new ball," he said. "For me, if selected, if given a new ball, follow Roachy. If Roachy is bowling good areas it's just my job to do the same and try and get the early wicket for the team."
Sruthi Ravindranath is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo