By Desiree Kissoon
QUEENS, NY — The clear child’s voice describing the ball by ball play of the two men in the middle caught me by surprise.
It was a nice cool Sunday afternoon and after many years, I decided I would go watch a game of cricket.
I headed out to Baisley Park on Saturday, August 25, to watch the Caribbean Invitation Xl take on a Guyana Select XI in the Annual Indo-Caribbean Federation 40-over game. By the time I arrived, Guyana was already out for a meager total and the Caribbean XI was batting.
I settled in to watch the game when the young voice again penetrated my thoughts, speaking with what sounded like a British accent describing a boundary.
Curiously I walked towards the make-shift commentary box and saw about three adult men and little figure sitting amongst them. I chuckled to myself as I watched this kid whose head was barely noticeable, speaking into the microphone.
I was so impressed by his confidence and his knowledge of a horse-racing event in Saratoga, happening that day, that I inched closer to get a better look. One of the adult started a conversation about the race and the youngster, without missing a beat chimed in, naming the favorite horse for the main event in Saratoga.
As I stood listening, the young man, whom I later learned, is no other than 10-year-old Matthew Achaibar, boasted of watching a County game in England recently.
Shortly after, I cornered the little guy as he was about to get something to eat.
He was yea-high, hair neatly combed and walked with the swagger of a star. To my surprise, he told me he became a fan of cricket about three years ago after watching a game with his dad.
“Before that I was never interested in cricket. But after watching the ICC 50-over World Cup Match with my dad in 2015, I became interested. My dad explained the game to me and I have been watching since then.”
Matthew said he was taken by the commentary done with the accent.
“So you are not from England?” I asked.
“No,” he said, I only visited there once this year.
Matthew wasn’t taken by any commentary though, but by that of Daniel Kyle Morrison, a former New Zealand cricketer turned commentator better known as Donny Morrison. Matthew tries to imitate Morrison when he gives commentary on the local games in the New York area.
Morrison is very colorful commentator who could most often be found where the beautiful ladies are and the El Dorado booths in the current annual Caribbean Premier League (CPL) games, being played in the English-speaking Caribbean. Often wearing a fedora or exposing his baldness, Morrison is the poster boy for the theme of the CPL – ‘The biggest Party in Sports.’
“Why Morrison”? I asked.
“I like his accent and the fun way he describes the game. And he is funny,” Matthew replied.
He said his plans for the future includes playing cricket for New Zealand and hopefully becoming a “big star” before turning to commentating the game.
He also admitted that he has learned more about game as embark on his budding commentary career.
“I have to learn the details and the positions on the field and the different types of shots and balls bowled,” he admitted.
He gets help from his dad and grand dad who takes him to the games.
Those in attendance were amazed at the ability of the little guy to bring such clear and colorful description of the game.
While they realize he doesn’t know everything there is to know about the game, they also know he is only 10 and has many more years to learn.
He has come a far way in the three years since he has started following the game.
We would certainly be hearing more of young Matthew.
The West Indian wishes him every success.