Windies’ Forde aims to become top all-rounder in world

Uncapped all-rounders Sherfane Rutherford and Matthew Forde

NORTH SOUND, Antigua (CMC) — West Indies white-ball recruit Matthew Forde said developing his batting and becoming a true all-rounder are where he wants to take his game in the immediate future.

The 21-year-old Barbadian was one of two newcomers named in the Caribbean side for their series of three One-Day Internationals against England, starting on Sunday at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, about five miles outside of the Antigua & Barbuda capital of St John’s.

“My goal is to be the number one all-rounder in the world and to put West Indies cricket back to where it needs to be — at the top,” the former West Indies Under-19 all-rounder said in an interview with CPL Media.

“For me, and a couple of the younger guys like me, we work really hard in terms of fitness, the mental side of the game, theory — whatever it be. We are always working because we know what we want to achieve and we know the goals that we have set and planned out as a collective group.”

Forde has two half-centuries in top flight cricket — in the Lanka Premier League Twenty20 tournament and in the West Indies Super50 tournament that ended last month in Trinidad, where he represented the Cricket West Indies Academy side. Forde said he is looking forward to reuniting with current West Indies white-ball Coach Daren Sammy after the former West Indies captain gave him his big break in the sport with the St Lucia Kings during the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 tournament last year.

Sammy, who also coaches the Kings in the CPL, brought Forde into the franchise on the recommendation of former Barbados and West Indies left-arm pacer Pedro Collins, one of the Kings’ assistant coaches.

“I think he [Sammy] has been, if not the backbone, he has been the main guy for me in terms of giving me that opportunity and trusting me, believing in me,” Forde said. “I started opening with the new ball for the Kings and he trusted me. I just kept performing until he built that trust in me.

“I think CPL was the foundation. CPL really started it all because without CPL then the rest of the world wouldn’t see me. CPL was my first major tournament so for me that’s like CPL was the foundation — and I will always say the Kings will always be in my heart.”

Forde was a surprising choice in the West Indies ODI squad after he managed only five wickets at 31 apiece for the CWI Academy in the Super50 Cup campaign.

But lead West Indies selector Desmond Haynes said he had been “impressive”, describing Forde as “a whole-hearted cricketer”.

“He is one of the players coming through the CWI Academy programme who can form part of the future,” Haynes said.

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