Akeem Dewar was one of four Under-23 players drafted by the Jamaica Tallawahs for the inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League. For the 21-year old leg-spinner, the selection was an affirmation of the capabilities he always knew he possessed and he is now eager to showcase them on the international stage.
Dewar, also known as ‘Pinky’, has been roaming the ranks of the different regional tournaments on his way to the ultimate competition, and the journey has been a rocky one.
The fifth of seven children, Dewar was introduced to the game of cricket by his brothers.
“We would play cricket every day, and I knew from the onset that it was my sport but I was overlooked for two consecutive years by the coach while playing Under-15,” said Dewar. “I always knew I was good enough to make the team though, and that I would have been a great addition to help them win.”
Despite his towering physical structure and cricketing ability, Dewar found it difficult to even get into the Lucas Cricket Club where his father was curator, let alone the U-15 team. He kept the faith however, always reminding himself that “nothing comes without hard work”. He also commends his coach at the time, Roy McClean, for keeping him motivated.
While he waited for his time to come, he worked on his game on and off the field. He tried to adopt the bowling styles of leg-spinners like Australian legend Shane Warne and Jamaica and West Indies’ Robert Haynes, and took advantage of the experience that his mentor, former West Indies batsman Wavell Hinds, had to offer.
Dewar’s glimpse of the future came in 2009 when on his regional one-day debut in the President’s Cup for West Indies Under-19s, he took three for 25 against Barbados and earned the Man of the Match award. Soon after this performance, he was scouted and offered a scholarship to attend the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus in Barbados.
He jumped at the chance, and is now about to start his second year in a Marketing and Management degree programme at UWI, while also representing Combined Campuses and Colleges in the regional competitions.
“Being in Barbados helps me more with my overall cricket development,” the rising Jamaican star said. “Cricket is the main sport here; more games are played and it offers more structure.”
As a result of this increased access to the game, Dewar has emerged as one of the most consistent bowlers in the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Elite Division, where he turns out for UWI. He topped the league with 52 wickets last season and was named one of Barbados’ five Cricketers of the Year, a prestigious award given to the best performers in the entire competition throughout the country. The competition consisted of a Twenty20 match, a 50-overs game and a three-day competition.
Steven Leslie, manager of the UWI Cave Hill side, said that his team made history when they won all won three competitions, and noted that the success was as a result of Dewar’s influence and bowling style.
“Having finally gotten an opportunity after waiting for more than a couple of years, Akeem is on a roll in Barbados,” says Leslie. “He has become one of the leading wicket-takers in the Barbados Cricket Association competition, and we are all anxiously waiting to see how he will perform in the Limacol CPL competition especially since he has been quite consistent throughout the season.”
Dewar will celebrate his birthday on August 30 – six days after the Limacol CPL final – and is confident that he will also be enjoying the success of the Jamaica Tallawahs. Although one of the youngest players on the team, he says he is ready to bring his A game, and believes it is now his time to shine.