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Drakes hoping to seize the moment in Pakistan

December 20, 2021

A new-look West Indies arrived in Pakistan Thursday morning, with high hopes of toppling the home team in the upcoming six-match white-ball series, following the disappointment of the Twenty20 World Cup.

The Caribbean side will face the hosts in three Twenty20 Internationals and three One-Day Internationals from December 13-22, and are set to debut a number of fresh faces in what is expected to be a tough assignment without their talismanic captain Kieron Pollard, who was ruled out last weekend through injury.

Dominic Drakes celebrates after leading St Kitts and Nevis to victory in the CPL final.

Left-arm fast bowling all-rounder, Dominic Drakes, is one of the players poised for his international debut after being named in the T20 squad, and said his elevation to the West Indies ranks seemed almost “fictional”.

“I’m extremely excited to be able to represent the region against one of the best T20 teams,” Drakes said.

“It will be a great test to see where I’m at if I get a chance. It’s everyone’s dream to reach the international level, that’s why we play, and to be selected at age 23 is great.

“I would like to grab this opportunity and hold it.”

The son of former Barbados and West Indies all-rounder Vasbert Drakes, the 23-year-old suffered a setback earlier this year when he was sidelined by injury during the Super50 tournament in Antigua.

He bounced back incredibly, however, when he starred in the Caribbean Premier League final last September, displaying nerves of steel in an unbeaten 48 off 24 deliveries to seal St Kitts and Nevis Patriots’ first title in a nervy run chase of 160. 

Drakes was then called up as a net bowler to the Indian Premier League in United Arab Emirates, drafted into the Chennai Super Kings who eventually won the tournament before being kept as a net bowler for West Indies at the Twenty20 World Cup, also played in the UAE.

“Looking back at the year I’ve had so far it almost seems fictional, like a motivational speech,” the well-spoken Drakes said.

“In my first match for Barbados, I got through seven overs and finished the game injured. Then to hear that there was a very high possibility that I would need to get surgery and that I would be out the game for nine to 12 months. 

“Then to hear the doctor say I would not need the surgery, that I could have therapy but I still needed time off …”

He added: “Then five to six months after that, to be able to play in a competition like CPL. Even if I stopped the year at CPL, that would be a great comeback – to be able to perform so well when no one really had their eyes on me. I just ‘jumped’ and had a good season. 

“… to move on in the T10 tournament in Abu Dhabi and being named ‘Bowler of the Tournament’ and also being named in the ‘Team of the Tournament’ … it was a bit unreal.”

West Indies start their campaign with the first T20 International on Monday at the Karachi National Stadium.

In Pollard’s absence, Shai Hope will take charge of the ODI squad while Nicholas Pooran will lead the T20 unit.

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