Justin on up­swing af­ter foot in­jury

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - People -

By da­van­[email protected]­tionnews.com

Cricket is Justin Greaves’ life. Since he was six years old he has dreamt of rep­re­sent­ing his coun­try, and even­tu­ally the Caribbean, through cricket. And just as he was about to make an­other step to­wards mak­ing that dream an even big­ger re­al­ity, the un­think­able hap­pened.

Greaves hurt his an­kle, the day af­ter he was se­lected to rep­re­sent the Bar­ba­dos se­nior team.

“In Jan­uary this year I was called into the Bar­ba­dos team and got in­jured the next day. I was dev­as­tated. I tore lig­a­ments in my an­kle, so I had to miss about three months of cricket,” he re­called.

The 24-year-old said it was the tough­est three months of his life as he con­stantly wor­ried about the fu­ture of his ca­reer.

“It was a very dif­fi­cult time for me. At the start of the tour­na­ment I was a re­place­ment for when some of the se­nior guys went on in­ter­na­tional duty and I told my­self this was my op­por­tu­nity to shine. Then in train­ing I tore the lig­a­ments in my an­kle.

“The re­cov­ery was long, painful and a very de­press­ing stage in my life. I had three months of ther­apy and lots of pa­tience. This def­i­nitely taught me pa­tience,” the Bar­ba­dos crick­eter said.

Luck­ily, he was able to re­cover and get back to train­ing and play­ing. But Greaves said he has to al­ways be mind­ful to put in the ex­tra work to keep him­self in tip top shape.

“The leg will never be 100 per cent. It’s one of those things you have to keep strength­en­ing. Ev­ery day I have to keep do­ing my leg work. Can’t miss leg days at all,” he said with a hearty chuckle.

But why ex­actly did that in­jury bother Greaves so much men­tally? It’s be­cause he couldn’t ever imag­ine him­self do­ing any­thing else.

“I’ve al­ways loved cricket. I played in all the na­tional age groups – Un­der 13, 15, 17, and 19. Fi­nally played at the se­nior in 2016 here at Kens­ing­ton Oval and that was a dream come true for me,” he said.

Greaves de­scribed his jour­ney as an event­ful one, filled with some ups and downs and many learn­ing les­sons.

“I’ve had some good days and bad days, but I take the good with the bad. I first made the team [se­nior] in 2012 af­ter the West In­dies Un­der-19 World Cup in Aus­tralia. Be­tween 2012 and 2016 when I played my first game, it was al­ways very dif­fi­cult to make the fi­nal 11 be­cause the team had in the likes of Car­los Brath­waithe and Ja­son Holder, and I pretty much play the same role as them. So I had to wait un­til they went on in­ter­na­tional duty to get my lit­tle sneak-in.

“It was dis­ap­point­ing not mak­ing the fi­nal 11 at times, but be­ing around the guys I learnt a lot. So I wouldn’t say there were many downs out­side of not per­form­ing some days, but I al­ways learn from those mis­takes and move on,” he added.

Greaves has also had the op­por­tu­nity to play for the West In­dies “B” team this year.

“I played for the West In­dies “B” team on two oc­ca­sions for the in­au­gu­ral Global T20 in Canada. We came sec­ond,” he said.

So far, Greaves has been thor­oughly en­joy­ing his time.

“I’m def­i­nitely liv­ing my dream thus far. I’m en­joy­ing ev­ery minute of it. There was noth­ing else I re­ally wanted to do and I can only see my­self go­ing up from here,” he said with a smile. The WEEK­END NA­TION caught up with Greaves yes­ter­day morn­ing dur­ing a prac­tice ses­sion at Kens­ing­ton Oval, where he was hard at work for an up­com­ing tour­na­ment.

“There’s a four-day tour­na­ment com­ing up next week so I will be rep­re­sent­ing Bar­ba­dos. The team was se­lected yes­ter­day [Tues­day]. So hope­fully I will be able to carry some good form from the lo­cal sea­son into the re­gional cricket and per­form at my great­est po­ten­tial,” he said.

Greaves said he had high hopes of join­ing the West In­dies se­nior team and ful­fill­ing the other part of a life­long dream.

“I would love to be in the West In­dies in a few years but out­side of that I would like to open my own academy in Bar­ba­dos,” he said.

And out­side of cricket, Greaves said coach­ing was the next best thing for him.

“I’ve been to Eng­land about five times play­ing pro­fes­sional cricket and while I was up there I got my Level II from the English Cricket Board (ECB), just try­ing to give my­self op­tions out­side of play­ing cricket. I did phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion at Bar­ba­dos Com­mu­nity Col­lege but I had to stop be­cause of cricket. So I can al­ways go back when I have the time,” he said.

He also noted that be­ing able to bounce back to tip top shape wouldn’t have been pos­si­ble with­out a group of peo­ple.

“Coach­ing wise I want to thank Roddy Est­wick, Dex­ter Top­pin, Vas­bert Drakes, and Corey Col­ly­moore. On the med­i­cal side, Jacquie King the physio who did a fan­tas­tic job over the three months try­ing to keep me sane and re­mind­ing me that ev­ery­thing was go­ing to be okay,” he added.

“The re­cov­ery was long, painful and a very de­press­ing stage in my life. I had three months of ther­apy and lots of pa­tience. This def­i­nitely taught me pa­tience,” said Justin Greaves of a painful cricket in­jury.

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