The Limacol Caribbean Premier League could not have come around at a better time for Barbadian all-rounder Raymon Reifer, one of several Under-23 players picked up in the draft for the professional Twenty20 tournament which bowls off this month.
Reifer is coming off his strongest first class season yet and though his performances were not blow-outs, the confidence and experience gained has put him in the right frame of mind for the exciting July 30 to August 24 campaign.
He will be turning out for the Barbados Tridents and he is banking on his steady left-arm seam and powerful left-handed batting to make a difference in the side.
“It was pretty good to get in some solid performances this season. It came on the back end of a lot of hard work that I put in throughout last year. Obviously not having the best season last year, it forced me to work a lot harder on my game and I got some results this year,” said the soft-spoken Reifer.
“I kind of under-achieved this year with the bat but the bowling came on a lot. Going to England last year helped me a lot in terms of being the ‘pro’ and knowing your performances have to be up, and being able to do that consistently over there. I just brought that confidence back into my game over here and used it in the first class season.”
In the four-day competition, Reifer was the second highest run-getter for Combined Campuses and Colleges with 205 runs at an average of 25, and a highest score of 85.
And while his bowling was by no means explosive, his nine wickets at 20 runs apiece proved valuable. He credits Barbados and West Indies batsman, and fellow Tridents teammate Kirk Edwards, for his improved batting but said it was the stint at Frinton Cricket Club in England last year that turned things around for him.
“It was pretty challenging having to adjust to the conditions. The ball swings a lot later so you have to play the ball a lot later and that helped me throughout my England stint,” said Reifer.
It is unlikely Reifer will lose this momentum ahead of the Limacol CPL as he was recently drafted into the West Indies High Performance Centre.
He admitted he had doubts about getting picked up in last month’s draft but said he was thrilled with the news that he had made the cut.
“It (hopes for the draft) was kind of iffy. I was not sure if I was going to be selected or not but when I was selected I just thanked the Father for that opportunity,” he related.
“I was training [when I got the news of my draft selection] and I got an email on my phone saying congratulations.”
Reifer says he’s definitely looking forward to the Limacol CPL, and thinks it is a great prospect for any young person or any player in the Caribbean for that matter to get himself out there.
“It is definitely an advantage to be working with someone like Desmond Haynes (Tridents head coach) because he is someone that has a lot of experience in the game and did it very successfully over a [long] period of time. It will be good to rub shoulders with him.
“With so many international players in the dressing room the only thing you can do is learn so I am really looking forward to that opportunity.”
The Tridents will boast a strong team with the likes of international Twenty20 stars Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Smith, international players like Pakistani batsmen Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal and highly-rated Bangladeshi all-rounder Shakib al Hasan.
They will be joined by an array of local stars including Barbadian all-rounders Jonathan Carter and Kyle Mayers, off-spinner Ashley Nurse and fast bowler Carlos Brathwaite.
Reifer says he believes the Tridents possess the ability to go all the way in the tournament.
“I think we have a very good chance of winning the Limacol CPL. We have a balanced side and I am just looking forward to really interacting with the other international guys and enjoying the cricket,” said Reifer.
Cricket has always run through Reifer’s veins. His father Elvis, uncles Leslie and George and cousin Floyd, have all played first class cricket for Barbados. Floyd has also played for West Indies.
It is no wonder that from childhood, Reifer always aspired to be a professional cricketer and the Limacol CPL has brought him another step closer to fulfilling his lifelong dream.
“From the time I knew myself I always wanted to play cricket. I want to play international cricket for the West Indies and become a very successful international cricketer,” he said. “It depends on how destiny goes. Sometimes you just don’t know. I will just continue to work hard, enjoy my cricket and take it step by step.”