Georgetown, Guyana – Kavem Hodge came to the 2011 West Indies Cricket Board’s Under-19 tournament with a reputation of being a solid batsman with the ability to play long innings and get big scores.
The Windward Islands captain lived up to expectations earlier this week with a well-constructed 155 not out in the drawn three-day match against Leeward Islands at Bourda. It was a superb captain’s knock as he stroked the first century of the tournament. It took his side from the worrying position of 35-3 to 340-8 declared.
A small, determined 18-year-old, who bats right and bowls left hand, Hodge hit 18 fours off 238 balls in just over five hours at the crease. He added 149 for the fourth wicket with keeper Sunil Ambris, who made a stroke-filled 84 off 90 balls. The knock was Hodge’s second century as he bettered the 125 against Barbados in St Lucia last year when he took home the MVP award and the Windwards won the title.
"I was very happy with the way I played against Leewards. We were under some pressure and I knew I had to play for the team. The first job was to keep my mind as clear as possible. I tried to play each ball as it came. Batting is about partnerships and I tried to build partnerships with everyone who came in. Batting with Sunil, that really helped. He is the kind of player who always looks to take the attack to the bowlers and while he was doing that I was able to get the ones and twos, rotate the strike, and build the innings," Hodge said.
"After Sunil went, that was crucial stage in the innings. I knew I had to take control of the innings. I was 60 at that stage and the team needed me to go on for as long as possible. I managed to get close to another 100 runs and we got another 150 as a team, so that was very pleasing."
Hodge added: "I just looked to keep batting and carry on for as long as I could. I like to bat time and once you bat time you will get a score for the team. I’m not a big stroke-player, I don’t have all the shots in the book, but I like to bat and I enjoy being out there fighting for the team.
In the previous match Hodge showed glimpses of what he capable of with topscores of 50 off 124 balls and 33 in the defeat against Trinidad & Tobago. Overall he now has 249 runs at an average of 49.8 per innings. He is also a clever left-arm spinner and has managed eight wickets at 24.6 per wicket so far.
He has represented Dominica and Windward Islands at all junior levels. This is his fourth season in the Windwards Under-19 team. At age 15 he became the second youngest player ever to represent Dominica in the Windward Islands Senior Tournament. In April he was a member of the West Indies Under-19 team to Dubai where he played a pivotal role in the series win over Australia.
Looking ahead he said: "We will continue to look to do our best in the remaining matches. We did not do that well in the first two matches but we played well against the Leewards and we will look to get as many points as we can and move up the table. The players are very keen to perform for the Windward Islands and even if we don’t win the three-day tournament, there is still the one-day tournament trophy to play for. Our coach and manager have been doing a very good job on keeping us focused and motivated."
Points standings after Round 3
Trinidad & Tobago 24.3
Round 4: Sunday, July 31 to Tuesday, August 2
Barbados vs Trinidad & Tobago at DCC
Guyana vs Windwards at Bourda
Jamaica vs Leewards at Everest