The Cricket West Indies (CWI) men’s selection committee has named two rookies Alick Athanaze and Akeem Jordan in the 15-man squad for the two-Test series against South Africa. Left-handed batsman Athanaze captains the Windward Islands Vulcanos.
Athanaze started his career as a debutant for West Indies Under-19 List A in the 2016-17 Regional Super 50.
After he joined the West Indies squad for the 2018 U19 Cricket World Cup, he became an important player. In this series, Athanze scored 418 runs and became the second West Indies player to score two centuries in a series.
After such an outstanding performance, in June 2018, he was selected in the Cricket West Indies B squad for the inaugural edition of the Global T20 Canada tournament.
In December 2018, Athanze made his first-class debut for the Windward Islands in the 2018–19 regional four-day tournament. Almost a year later, in October 2019, he was a member of the Windward Islands squad for the 2019–20 Regional Super 50 tournament.
He have performed well in the first two rounds of the 2023 West Indies Four-Day Championship. Athanaze scored 41 and 51 against Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in Round 1, and a career-best 141 against Guyana Harpy Eagles in Round 2.
Alick has always wanted to play international cricket and it will be his dream to get the maroon bag because of his love for the game by his peers and others who saw him shadow batting on the streets over the years.
The young batsman made his goals clear.
“I am only here for one job, and it is to make the West Indian people proud!.” Alick; exclaimed when asked about the Maroon Fans’ support.
His disenfranchisement was his turning point. He said,
“Some of the worst things that happen in life, are actually the best things that happen to you. Pain prepares you for what is to come.”
Dropped by his franchise, the Windward Islands Volcanoes, early in his career, he thinks it taught him to always stay one step ahead, a big part of why he’s where he is today.
That allowed him to return home, go back to the drawing board, and gain the mental strength he needed to contribute to his own success.
Discipline is very important to him. In his time without a regional contract, the majority of the work Alick has done has been mental, while there are a few technical aspects he needs to correct. Being disciplined and managing himself better were the main changes he made.
He could not acquire those qualities earlier due to natural talent and low quality opposition of youth.
“I mention bad balls there, but here you rarely get bad balls here. So, I think right now I it’s about me learning and understanding my game a little more.”
Alick was in a Windward Islands team meeting during the West Indies Championship when he got the call from West Indies chief selector Desmond Hayne.
He then received a message asking him to be recalled, and all but the 24-year-old confirmed that he had been selected in a West Indies squad.