Justin on upswing after foot injury
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.