Javelle Glenn from not knowing what cricket was at 13 to CPL at 20

Tue, Nov 19, '19

by KRISSANIA YOUNG

Media Watch

Thursday October 24, 2019:

Admittedly, I was late for my 1pm chat with, 21-year-old rising star, Javelle Glenn, at the Melbourne Cricket Club. It was pouring, again, as is precedent for most of my encounters with Kingston these days, and when I sat down, in a less than quiet place, to speak with the left-hander, I was soaking wet—dripping from cap to sneakers! But, the show, or talks in this case, went on.

Your first memories of cricket?

Well I started from about, like, 13-years-old. The reason I started playing cricket was [because] I went with my cousin to Melbourne Cricket Club. I would actually come here (Melbourne Cricket Club) for fun. I’d like to just look what he’s doing, [because] every day I'd see him, after school, coming to this club.

You were in high school at the time?

Yes. So, I [started to] come with him now and see him playing cricket. But, I didn’t know what the sport was, right?

      (Caught off guard by that statement from a West Indian boy, I went)

Where are you from?

[Because] I normally play football. I’ve been playing football since I was 5-years-old or younger, so football was my first love. So, one day I came with him [my cousin] and from that day I was around cricket. Until I eventually [started to] love the game. And I just found myself not playing football again and started playing cricket.

But age 13 is kind of late isn’t it, to learn any sport? So, how difficult did it prove to be in the end?

Yes, it is. But as I said before, it wasn’t too difficult for me, because I just started to love the sport. I wasn’t a cricketer, but I used to bring my arm over and didn’t know what I’m doing and stuff like that.

What did the coaches at the club say when you started to show interest at this age?

Well to be honest still, Robert Samuels and others were backing me [even though] they didn’t know what my potential was or anything. I have to give credit to Andre McCarthy, because he was a player that helped me out; he saw me as a young player and helped me out. To be real, right? I was 13-years-old [when I started] and when I turned 14-years-old, I played for the Jamaica Under-15. So, I have to give credit to Andre, because I didn’t know much about this game [but] he was the only one that brought me around and showed me things. He’s the one that spent the hard yards with me and ensured that I became a cricketer and learned the skills I should have. So, I have to give credit to him for that.

No one at Melbourne cautioned you as to the reality of being a 13-year-old beginner. Or, was it a case of ‘you’re a raw talent, we are going to work with you’?

Definitely. They saw me bowling and was like, ‘this young man has some potential’. So, I went to the Melbourne Summer Camp and from there everybody recognized my talent.

And you went on to play cricket for your high school?

Yes, I actually played cricket for them—Tarrant High School, just down the road [from here]—I turned out to be a history-maker for Tarrant; the first person (from the school) to play for Jamaica and in the Caribbean Premier League. I actually have the most runs and the most wickets for my school, as well.

What did you gravitate to first—bowling or the batting?

Well, to be honest, bowling first. Because when you see the big men batting on the grass—at a tender age, coming to Melbourne, I would see Marlon Samuels, Carlton Baugh, Andre McCarthy, Yannick Elliott—you, as a youngster, would always see the youngsters bowling to a 'big man' [and] you would want to join them. And he [my cousin] was bowling every minute [and so] I eventually became a bowler and I didn’t even realize it.

Where’s your cousin now?

He’s in the States.

So, you played U-15 for Jamaica within a year of starting out.

Yes, so I played Under-15 for Jamaica the next year. I went from Under-15 to Under-17. I played Under-17 [cricket for] two years for Jamaica. I made the reserves for Jamaica Under-19, [but I] wasn't selected for my country. The first year [I played Under-19 cricket] that was the (2016) Under-19 World Cup year. I didn’t make the World Cup team—didn’t even make my national team. After I left Under-17s, I got some runs and got top-performer for my country. Coming back home to Jamaica, I was saying to myself that I want to make this World Cup team, because I saw the talent [pool] in the tournament and I was like, ‘I think I can make this team’. I worked on my game, scored some runs in the trials, but unfortunately, I didn’t make the team.

How did you feel?

I was disappointed, very much so.

You thought you did enough to make the team?

I wouldn’t say ‘I did enough’, but I think I could have gone and done it for Jamaica, my country—I love my country. After that, the next year, (following the World Cup disappointment) I still [qualified] to play Under-19 cricket in the region. So, I went back, did well for my country [and] I actually scored a century and took some 5-wicket hauls [even though] I couldn’t play [Under-19] World Cup again, but I was thinking about my career, so I did my best there. And I went to the national senior trials. I played only one game and I scored 72 not out and then I never played another trial game up until 2019.

You consider yourself a genuine all-rounder, then? 

Definitely. But, I think I should give myself some credit for my batting, because I started off, my first two years in cricket, as a bowler and I transformed as a batsman from there. So [now] I am a batting all-rounder.

Javelle Glenn, The Leader:

I was the vice-captain in my second year for both my Under-17 and Under-19 teams. Yes, I captained my club this year and became the youngest captain to win a Senior Cup title, right (at 21).

They gave a 21-year-old captain?

I must give credit to my agent, Mark Neita (President of Melbourne Cricket Club), he was the one that was backing me, telling me that, ‘Javelle, you got this’.

When did you meet Mr. Neita?

Well, from a young age, I signed to Mark since I was 15-years-old.

So when you came to Melbourne, then?

Yes. I think he saw the flowers [even] before it bloomed. He put interest in me since I was a kid. So, he knew what was going to become of me if I put my head to the task and work on my game.

And when you got drafted for the St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots last season, what was that like?

Well, to be honest, [it was] an overwhelming feeling. As a youngster, I was like ‘my hard work is really paying off’. Because, day in day out (I live like just down the road), every day, I come to Melbourne and I train. Every day, because you have some of my friends that board here, so we actually trained a lot [as] this is our profession. So, I think that I put in enough work as a player, so, to myself, I was like, ‘Father God is just giving me a reward’, you understand. I didn’t play a game (for the Patriots). The game I should have played, my finger got injured, so I ended up not playing. After that, I came back to Jamaica [and] in the Senior Cup, I ended up scoring the second-most runs, with three centuries. This season in Senior Cup was a really a good season for me and I would love more seasons like this. [Because] as a young player, you really want to do well, right. You want to be competing with ‘bigger men’.

Playing for the Patriots you were in a room with international players, how did that aid your game?

It’s a pleasure to be around legends and superstars, to learn from them is a pleasure. I should say, when, as a young player, you go in any squad with any legends or professionals and superstars, you can actually go and learn from them.

You actually sat and spoke cricket with them?

Yes, one of the times Ben Cutting was like ‘oh man, this young man’. But I actually knew what I wanted. So, I was with him 24/7, like, ‘Ben, how do you get this done, how do you do this, how do you do that?’ and I learned a lot. And I came back to Jamaica and I told my friends about it. He is a real professional. Credit to Chris Gayle, as well, because as a left-hander to a left-hander, I could ask him how he conquered this bowler and things like that, so I should give credit to him, as well.

And then getting selected for your home franchise the following season, knowing that you’re coming back to Jamaica…

When I was watching the draft and I heard my name for Jamaica Tallawahs, it was a different feeling. To know that you’re playing for your country, your home, where you were born. It was always going to be a pleasure, to know that your family is going to come out and support [both you and the country].

The Tallawahs didn’t do too well this year, but how was your personal experience?

The experience was really good, I learned a lot. Playing my first professional game—I didn’t play a first-class game before this—so to go out there and express my talent, to the world and to my country, was a really good feeling. [Especially] knowing that I didn’t know what the atmosphere would be like, playing in a game like this, and to show what I can do.

I saw you at Sabina against the Tridents speaking to yourself in-between deliveries. Is that something that you do to keep concentration?

Yes, I’ll always be there saying to myself—I put God first in everything that I do—so I’ll just be like, ‘I can do this’. Even when it’s impossible.

And this year’s Super50…

I’m in the reserves. As an emerging player, I’m just thinking on my game that what I should work on. So, I’m just thinking on my game hard, because I didn’t make my Jamaica Super50 team and I wanted to.

You’re viewed as a T20 player, then?

Yes, and that’s what I don’t want for myself. I’m a cricketer; not a T20 player, a 50-over player or a Test player—I’m a cricketer. I play all formats. Actually, in the local league, my stats are there and in the two-day format, I [stand up] and bat.

You’d be interested, then, in playing the longer versions of the game, even at the highest level?

Yes, definitely. That’s my goal. I’ve always wanted to represent Jamaica and the West Indies.

And if the T20 leagues around the world come a-calling?

Yes, if not playing for Jamaica, not playing for West Indies, why not go?

So, you’d put the West Indies first?

Definitely.

Finally, how has all this been for your family?

My dad died when I was seven, so I always want to make my mother proud, because she’s the one that fights for me [even] up until now. My mom’s always there for me, she plays the biggest part. When I said I wanted to play cricket, she didn’t say ‘don’t play’. When I told her, I’m going to Melbourne to play cricket with my cousin, she said ‘go’. That’s the thing that got me out of the house—‘mom I’m going to play cricket’. Even when I was not. Even if I had something in the yard to do, cricket was my excuse to tell my mom, I’m going to play cricket. The moment I tell her that, she’s like ‘all right, go’. 

As a young player, speaking to other young players, just believe in yourself. Keep working hard, trust the process, trust God’s plan. When you push yourself, push yourself over the limit. Instead of running five laps, run ten, that’s what will bring you to the top with the top players. When you speak with top players, they always tell you, ‘do the hard yards, do the work’. —Javelle Glenn (2019).

See why Melbourne has this 21-year-old as captain?

 

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