Romario Shepherd’s international statistics aren’t outstanding, but his performance in the second One-Day International against India signals an improvement is on the way.
Romario Shepherd was named after the legendary Brazilian football star Romario. Shepherd was born in Linden, a town where football – or track and field – is more popular than cricket, yet he excelled at it.
Shepherd towered above other youngsters in age groups and regional cricket because he was tall, robust, and muscular.
He commands a strong presence in the middle and does not take half-measures. He was destined to be a cricket all-rounder.
Shepherd towered over India’s IPL stars on Saturday, taking career-best ODI figures of 3 for 37. He dismissed Ishan Kishan, India’s new No. 4 Axar Patel, and Ravindra Jadeja to help West Indies win their first ODI against India in nearly four years.
India was without regular skipper Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, who were both rested, but Shepherd’s innings was a huge step forward for him.
Shepherd has played 24 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and T20 cricket worldwide, but his T20 economy rate 9.08 verifies widespread belief that he leaks easy runs.
His Checklist A 5.49 economy rate is more acceptable, and while Jason Holder is prone to leaking runs at the death, he gives the West Indies better control in the powerplay and middle overs.
In the absence of Holder, who has withdrawn from the ODI series against India, Shepherd combined his hit-the-deck hustle with control and demonstrated that he could do the job in reasonably favorable conditions.
West Indies’ hit-the-deck option against UAE in Sharjah was Odean Smith, but Shepherd is considerably taller and pounds the deck much harder.
Keemo Paul recently represented West Indies in the World Cup Qualifier and at the Emirates.
However, he is better noted for his new-ball abilities and slower variations towards death.
The surface in Barbados for the second ODI on Saturday was utilized, but Shepherd created enough speed and bounced to scare India.
Kishan was already in his shot-making rhythm when Shepherd was summoned into the attack, and he added four more when he sliced Shepherd between backward point and deep third.
Shepherd threw a similar short ball two legal balls later, but this one slipped onto the bat and had Kishan slicing a catch to a backward point, where Alick Athanaze sprinted to his right to complete a remarkable catch.
Shepherd then dug the ball in even shorter in his following over, creating a tighter angle from around the wicket to terminate Axar’s promotion after eight balls.
Shepherd attacked him and confined him as Axar sought to swing his upper body within the line and drop his gloves. Shepherd went on to bounce Jadeja out as well, significantly harming India.
“It was just more intent,” Shepherd explained after the game. “I just tried to run in hard and hit the pitch because you get something out of hitting the wicket.”
So it was in my bowling strategy, and I didn’t want to get too close to some of the Indian batters.
When I arrived, I grabbed a wicket and established the tone. Essentially, the players began to push a bit, and then we got another door that put pressure back on them.”
The West Indies cricket has had a terrible few weeks, beginning with their inability to qualify for the 50-over World Cup for the first time.
The West Indies then collapsed in 23.2 overs in the first ODI series opener against India, their second-shortest completed innings.
Shepherd praised the West Indies’ comeback and his performance in the second ODI.
“It’s a big job from me,” Shepherd remarked following West Indies’ six-wicket victory.
“Essentially, against a big team like India… no matter what team they put out on paper, India always has some great batsmen in their line-up.” So getting my best stats versus India was a fantastic experience.”
The West Indies’ attack will face an even greater test as the track in Trinidad for the third ODI may provide less help to the bowlers. In addition, with the series on the line, Rohit and Kohli will almost certainly return for India.
“I think our bowling is the area where we need to improve the most, especially because it’s going to be a batting wicket there in Trinidad, so whoever bowls well will win,” Shepherd said. “In Trinidad, the wicket is flat and there is nothing in it for the bowlers, so we’re expecting a great game.”
In such conditions, West Indies will want Shepherd, the six-hitter, to perform if they are to stun India once more.