With 16 wickets in his last 10 T20Is since making headlines by playing a crucial role for IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals, left-arm pacer Obed McCoy is raring to go ahead of the 10th season of the Caribbean Premier League. The 25-year-old has switched sides this season and will be featuring for the Barbados Royals, a team he also represented in the inaugural season of THE 6IXTY, which wrapped up on Sunday.
“It’s obviously a new franchise for me but I’ve settled well into the team because there are a lot of familiar faces in our camp. It’s like a continuation from the IPL itself, and I am glad that the franchise has again put their faith in me. I feel at home here and that helps me in approaching games with confidence,” expressed McCoy.
Having missed out on the IPL trophy earlier this year, the pacer from Kingstown has already set his eyes on the title. “We’re here to win the CPL and my plan will be to keep going out there and take wickets to get the team over the rope.”
The Barbados Royals will start their CPL campaign against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, who will be captained by the experienced Dwayne Bravo and boast of a strong line-up. However, McCoy says his teammates will be focusing on playing their respective roles. “With wickets in the Caribbean, you know that the majority will be spin tracks, so I think that will play a role. I think for batters it will be about getting in and making the most of it, while for the bowling team, the middle overs will be crucial. Having said that, we need to tick all the boxes and adjust to the conditions each time we go out there,” he said.
The Royals will also have new captain David Miller joining the squad later in the tournament, with Kyle Mayers serving as his deputy in his absence, and McCoy has shared his thoughts on what the fans can expect from the South African great. “It is something that is relatively new to him, but seeing him, I think it’s a job that fits him. He’s a really experienced player and I’m sure he’s always learning, which applies to captaincy as well. He’s been in exceptional form off late and we are hoping he can lead us from the front with passion and help the team in doing the best.”
It was Miller’s Gujarat Titans who defeated McCoy’s Rajasthan Royals in the IPL 2022 Final, and McCoy says he “will definitely have a chat about it, but he (Miller) was in great form and credit to him.”
An impressive IPL season, followed by decisive performances for the West Indies, has elevated McCoy’s stature as an international bowler, but the wily left-armer does not want to change anything. “Well, I don't put pressure on myself. At the end of the day, it’s about trusting my abilities and executing. When I'm on a cricket field, I don't think about the outside noise. I just let my skills do the talking. I don't try to think too much about taking wickets, and my aim is to just contain and put pressure, it’s inevitable for the wickets to come after that.”
The biggest carnival in world cricket, the CPL has produced several players over the years, and McCoy is one of the many who have been scouted by teams around the world through his performances in the competition. Commenting on the importance of the league, he said, “CPL has been a great platform for young players and I’ve experienced that myself. When young players get to speak and experience an atmosphere which has got proven, international players, I think it gives them great insights and accelerates their growth.”
“You end up knowing how they think, what their routines are like, and pick up the good things. It’s about understanding what they need to do to get to the next level,” added McCoy.
He seems to be enjoying his cricket at the moment, but the past year hasn’t been easy for the Barbados Royals seamer. “At the start of the IPL, I was coming off an injury and was a bit devastated to be honest in terms of where my fitness had gone, but I knew that when I get down and actually get into the rhythm of things, I would actually start to gain back fitness and that helped. I knew it was challenging to be going into a big tournament with little to no match practice under my belt, but I just went into the game with confidence, and the fact that my role was very clear, made a lot of difference. I tried to stick to my strengths, and it turned out well.”
McCoy also added that working with one of the greatest bowlers, Lasith Malinga, benefited him. “With Malinga, he told me he also went through phases like that where you are just coming off an injury but must get into the thick of things quickly. He just advised me to bowl as much as possible in the nets, and I think that really helped in regaining my fitness and rhythm. I went from bowling about 30 balls, to bowling 60 balls a session, sometimes even more.”
With new goals in his sights, McCoy will be one of the key bowlers in the Barbados Royals’ line-up alongside Jason Holder and Oshane Thomas, and he is already relishing the opportunity. “I’m really excited for this season. I think those couple of months (IPL) really got my career back on track, and I just want to continue evolving as a player, understand the game better and just work my way up to the top as much as I can starting with helping my team win the CPL trophy,” McCoy signed off.