It has never really been all rosy for Rovman Powell. Growing up in Bannister District of Old Harbor in Jamaica, Powell, who was supported by his sister and mother, had to make do with very little they had. The three lived in a dilapidated house that had a metal roof and when it rained it often required repairs.
In fact, in a CPL documentary, Powell revealed how he would stay up all night when it rained to ensure that the water did not reach his mother or his sister. Fast forward to the present, Powell is one of the most sought after cricketers in the world, with his ability to bludgeon any bowling attack, bowl tight overs and also pluck catches out of thin air.
Moreover, he is the frontrunner to take over as the captain of the West Indies white-ball side, following the resignation of Nicholas Pooran – an opportunity which excites the Jamaican.
“Leading West Indies is not a boyhood dream, but something that passes through your mind now and then. When you think about leading the West Indies you think you are leading a proud nation of people. If that does happen, I would be very proud, very excited for the journey. You also have to be mindful of the job. I know it is not an easy one,” Powell, who is currently leading Dubai Capitals in the ILT20, said in a chat with Cricket.com.
Speaking of the UAE-based tournament, Powell said, “It's a pretty good experience. The guys here have rallied around me as captain and that's very, very important especially in a franchise when it's a new one. Also the coaching staff...a lot of friendships have been built and hopefully those friendships last a lifetime.”
Powell also plays for the Delhi Capitals (DC) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and with regular skipper Rishabh Pant set to miss the tournament, Powell, who led Jamaica Tallawahs to the CPL title last year, could certainly be a frontrunner to lead the side. But he has denied such talks taking place.
However, he did mention that he did text Pant after his horrific accident to check up on him and the two continue to remain in touch.
“In the initial stage of his accident I left things as it is because his phone will be buzzing and all kind of stuff. I gave it some amount of time and then I sent him a message and he sent back a heartfelt message. We have been in contact whenever we can,” Powell revealed.
Coming back to the ILT20, the Dubai Capitals are currently in the penultimate position in the six-team event, but Powell believes his side have played some good cricket.
“We've played some very good cricket during the duration of the competition. It's just that we've not played good cricket for a longer period, played good cricket in patches. That is the most disappointing part,” Powell, who smashed 10 sixes in the game against Mumbai Emirates a couple of weeks ago, said.
“When you look at the quality of the team, quality of the guys and the quality of the coaching staff, it's a bit disappointing because I think we have what it takes to be at the front of the table.”
West Indies have a proud T20 heritage, being two-time T20 World Cup champions, but the last two editions have not gone according to plan. While they failed to make an impact in the 2021 edition, winning just one of their five matches in the Super 12s, 2022 was even worse. They failed to even make it to the Super 12s, after being beaten by Scotland and Ireland in the first round.
Powell, who was part of the latest edition, says his side’s exit was one of the saddest days in his international career.
“When we exited the competition, it was one of the saddest days of my international career. It was disappointing, it was frustrating, it left us with a bitter taste in our mouth to be honest,” Powell, who managed just 39 runs from three innings in the tournament, said.
“We not just embarrassed the region but also embarrassed ourselves, because we as cricketers we have personal pride. Hopefully, for the next World Cup, the preparation and those things can be a little bit better. Rest and recover...we just came out of a CPL. All those little things have to be factored in next time.”
The post-mortem report that followed West Indies’ departure from the tournament touched upon the fact that many players prioritise playing franchise T20 leagues ahead of playing for their region. Massive players like Sunil Narine and Powell’s idol Andre Russell did not make the cut for the tournament, while Shimron Hetmyer too was not part of it as he missed his flight to Australia (literally).
The report went on to say that West Indies cricket could cease to exist as a result. The solution could be a simple one – clearer communication between the board and the players that could once again induce trust between the two parties.
Another World Cup beckons later this year and that provides the Windies another opportunity to prove their mettle and potentially restore their people’s faith in them. However, it has not been an easy road for them.
West Indies are just about hanging on by a thread when it comes to an automatic qualification and may have to play in the Qualifiers. Having played all their ODI Super League games, their fate is no longer in their hands. If they fail to secure an automatic qualification (which is highly likely), they have another tournament to contend with and earn their way into the mega event.
Powell, who has fond memories from the tournament in 2018, where he scored his first international century, sees this as an opportunity to show the fight the team has got.
“It is frustrating. Nobody wants to go through a qualifier. In the qualifiers you see guys playing their hearts out against you just to make it to the World Cup. Some unfortunate things do happen at the qualifiers,” the Jamaican said.
“It's frustrating but it also gives us an opportunity to play cricket, to see the fight within the guys and to see the guys going down to Zimbabwe to fight for the West Indies, fight for the people of the West Indies. It's an opportunity for us. It's an unfortunate situation. But out of an unfortunate situation, heroes can rise.”