It's been just four years since Rovman Powell made his international debut but his big-hitting prowess coupled with handy medium-pace bowling has already earned him the title of "Jr Andre Russell". A team-mate of Russell's at Jamaica Tallawahs, Powell isn't shy or intimated by the comparison, in fact, it is one that he embraces.
Having played age-group cricket in Jamaica, Powell made his international debut in an ODI against Sri Lanka, in 2016. He soon made it to the T20I team too and also captained the West Indies side against Bangladesh in 2018.
However, the journey to the top has not been an easy ride for the 26-year-old. Born in Bannister District of Old Harbour, in Jamaica, Powell along with his single mother and a younger sister had to endure a lot of hardships. In a documentary known as CPL Life Stories, which is produced by the Caribbean Premier League, Powell narrates how it was tough for him growing up but now that he is a successful cricketer, wants to make the most out of it.
The third episode of the series begins with Powell visiting his old home in Old Harbour meeting his mother and sister. He describes how his single mother had to at times do three different jobs just to send him and his sister to school.
"Adjectives are inadequate in describing my mother. I grew up watching her hard work tirelessly, wash clothes for people, just to make a living, just to put food on my table, just for me to go to school," Powell says.
"Whenever I am down, I am faced with tough challenges, on and off the cricket field, I just decided that I am not doing it for myself. Because maybe if I was doing it for myself, I would have stopped, but I am doing it for her, I am doing it for my sister, I am doing it for the ones I love."
Cricket for a lot of young boys in Jamaica is a hobby, but at a very young age, it became a way of life for Powell and his family. The crew also visited Powell's school where his Grade 6 teacher Nicholas Dillon recalled an incident when he had asked all the students in his class to write something about their fathers. He noticed that while every student was writing something, Powell was in tears. This is when he got to know that Powell had never known who his father was.
"It was tough for me early on but I got to the understanding that not everyone will stand up to responsibility. I have no hard feelings for him but the search for him, those days are gone," Powell says about his father.
Powell has not yet become the household name that he would have liked but he is surely getting there. Since being discovered by the Jamaica-based franchise in 2015, Powell has played 39 games for them where he averages 27.93 with the bat and has picked 12 wickets at 42.3.
The breakthrough year for Powell came in CPL 2018 when he scored 329 runs in 11 outings at an average of 54.83 and a strike-rate of 162.1. He also picked up five wickets that season striking every 13.2 balls.
Powell's performances for the West Indies though have been staggered. He has played 34 ODIs for them averaging 23.92 which includes 2 half-centuries and a hundred. He has also picked up three wickets in the format. In T20Is, Powell averages 20.50 in 26 outings and has also picked up four wickets.
Powell was chosen by Kolkata Knight Riders during the auctions in 2017 for INR 30 Lakhs but was not given a crack at a game. He remained unsold the following years but that is not something that will break Powell's focus.
"There is still a hunger deep within me that wants more. When you are comparing the top cricketers in the world, you should hear Rovman Powell's name calling, that's definitely what I want to achieve. When people are sitting down and talking about good cricketers that they have seen, Rovman Powell's name should be mentioned," he says.
"I have a long way to go. I just want to keep improving and keep doing what is right."