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Education ‘the best training ground’

Philip Hackett

Education ‘the best training ground’

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“Education is the key to success in the world.”

This may seem a strange mantra for a professional sportsman whose life revolves around cricket but former Combermerian Jomel Warrican understands the need for total personal development as he walks life’s journey.

 He expressed this view as he spoke to MIDWEEK SPORT following ICBL Empire’s recent impressive capture of the 2014 Elite Division cricket championship.

Warrican played a key role in the success of Empire and is the leading wicket taker so far this season, claiming some 58 scalps, the most by any bowler since the rebranding of the top domestic division to ‘Elite’.

“As Nelson Mandela said, the greatest weapon is education,” Warrican said as he explained the influence of cricket teacher and former Barbados fast bowler Roddy Estwick on his life.

“He (coach Estwick) always preached the importance of education while I was going to school because if you wanted to continue playing for Combermere you had to do well at school. He would talk to you about cricket, ask you questions about cricket, explain cricket. We lived and breathed cricket at Combermere. At the same time he was preaching the importance of education as well,” said Warrican.

The 22-year-old left arm orthodox spinner and capable lower order batsman still seeks out the advice of his former teacher and is a frequent visitor to the school and/or to Estwick’s home where cricket talk takes centre stage.

“Mr Estwick and my father (Joel Warrican) have impacted heavily on my life,” Warrican said.

Ironically Warrican’s professional cricket contract and his own training schedule have combined to influence him to take a break from his studies at Cave Hill next semester, but he insists this is only temporary.

Inspired by the confidence placed in him by his captain Jamal Smith, Warrican set out to be the leading wicket taker this season, well aware that his full participation would serve Empire’s cause in aiming for championship success in the centenary year.

“Smith told me and boasted to others that if I played a full season Empire would win the cup. I believed if he had that confidence in me I should give it a try and I decided to stay home and put everything into the season,” Warrican explained.

The affable cricketer spoke highly of the environment around the club that has paved the way for the excellent performance of the team as well as the contribution of coach Sherlon Greaves to his development.

“We have discussed things like the areas to bowl, when to fight the ball and assessing the pitch. He gives me a lot of confidence to come out and do well,” said Warrican.

“Every single member of Empire has contributed. The fans, spectators, barman, everyone deserves a round of applause for supporting not just me but the entire team,” said Warrican, who was born in St Vincent and came here at the age of 12.

With 14 first-class wickets already under his belt in five outings at the highest level of regional cricket, Warrican is a firm believer in the importance of mental preparation.

He is constantly seeking new information on maximising this aspect of his cricketing life while at the same time maintaining a rigorous training programme.

Setting realistic goals and high standards for performance are some of the tenets of his programme. Warrican also underlined the importance of acquiring information relevant to his development.

“I go online and read about psychology, understanding yourself and watching why great players and great people in general do well,” noted Warrican whose days are divided between classes at Cave Hill, studying at home and cricket training.