Bridgetown, Barbados -- Ryan Austin is working overtime to stay on top of his game and he is reaping the rewards. The off-spinner had a 10-wicket match haul and was the hero last weekend as his Combined Campuses & Colleges beat Leeward Islands to get their first points of the Regional 4 Day tournament.
The experienced off-spinner ended with 10 wickets for 71 runs - 5-19 in the first innings as Leewards fell for 39, and 5-52 in the second innings to take his side to an innings victory inside two days. He has now secured 19 wickets at an average of just 10.89, including 7-84 in the first innings of the opening match against T&T, to be the leading wicket-taker so far this season.
“It’s no secret that as a sportsman, the older you get the harder you have to work to maintain your fitness and keep your skills up to pace. I’m not one of the young boys so I know I have to put in the extra work to stay on top. I have started a routine where I try to bowl at least 20 overs a day during every training session,” said the 30-year-old Austin.
“This is something that I started last month ahead of the Caribbean T20 and it has continued into the Regional 4 Day tournament. So when we go to the nets and the others have finished, I stay back and make sure I put in my 20 overs per day, so when I get into the match bowling a minimum of 20 overs comes naturally.”
This weekend Austin will take on the Guyana batsmen at Warner Park in St Kitts. He is well on target for the tournament-best 44 wickets he took last year. He now has 245 career wickets and will be looking to reach the 250 landmark. CCC’s batting has not been spectacular but Austin is backing his young team-mates to come good.
“I’m getting a lot more pace on the ball now and I’m starting it from outside the off stump. That is another change I have made. I am putting the ball in what people call the ‘right areas’ more consistently and I am getting rewards. Having played for Barbados and now for CCC for a number of years, I have watched and learned a few things and I’m trying to put these ideas into my everyday game,” Austin said.
“I have been talking to our batsman a lot … we have young batting side. They have been working hard but batting at this level calls for patience. You have to be willing to spend long periods at the crease and work for your runs. I am backing our batsmen to make the adjustment and put up some good scores in the coming matches,” Austin said.
The winning team will be awarded the Headley/Weekes Trophy in honour of West Indies greats George Headley and Sir Everton Weekes.