CPL

'My hard work has paid off' - Emotional Walsh reflects on long road to glory, pays homage to late father

By October 13, 2019

A visibly emotional Hayden Walsh Jr took time to reflect on the merits of hard work and the immense contribution of his late father as he basked in the glory of a first and in many ways unexpected Caribbean Premier League (CPL) title with the Barbados Tridents.

Few would have heard of the 27-year-old Antiguan-American before the start of this season but it's safe to say his whirlwind leg break bowling took the competition by storm.  His 22 wickets in 9 matches representing a tournament-high that earned him the Hero Player of the Tournament award. 

Twice this season the spinner proved completely unplayable for the opposition, claiming five wickets against the Trinbago Knightriders and four against the St Lucia Zouks to help catapult the team into the then-struggling team into the playoffs.  Eventually, it set the stage for one of the biggest upsets in the competition's history with a win over the previously unbeaten Guyana Amazon Warriors in the final.   

Perhaps even fewer would remember the bowler’s forgettable CPL debut season for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in 2018 where his two overs in just two matches went for a costly 54, with no wickets to show.  For Walsh, the gentle placing of the CPL crown on a head once plagued with uneasiness, surely once again proved the old adage, the price of success is hard work.

“I have no words right now.  I’ve worked so hard and all I have to do is give the almighty God thanks for bringing me this far,” Walsh Jr said after the match.

“I’ve been working for years.  I’ve been getting tips all over but I think this is the time it has started to pay off,” he added.

Despite certainly having a claim to being Leeward islands cricketing royalty, his uncle Vaughn Walsh a pace bowler and father Hayden, a gritty opener who played for the region in the 90s, the journey has been a long one for the young Walsh.

He came through the ranks but often failed to find favour with the selectors of the sub-regional group.  The spinner, as a result, went on to represent the United States at the senior level.  The player was forced to overcome perhaps his biggest obstacle when his father, who introduced him to the game and served as his mentor for several years, died of a heart attack in 2010.

“I think about him every day,” a teary-eyed Walsh said.

For his breakout exploits, the bowler was named the Hero Player of the Tournament. 

 

Kwesi Mugisa

Kwesi has been a sports journalist with more than 10-years’ experience in the field. First as a Sports Reporter with The Gleaner in the early 2000s before he made the almost natural transition to becoming an editor. Since then he has led the revamp of The Star’s sports offering, making it a more engaging and forward-thinking component of the most popular tabloid newspaper in the Caribbean.

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