The 22-year-old from Nevis is fresh from a brilliant year with the bat in Test cricket and is relishing the challenge as he switches from the longest version to the shortest and newest format of the game.
Powell was outstanding this year with five first-class centuries. He made three in Test cricket – including two in the first Test against Bangladesh in Dhaka last month. In August, he made his maiden Test century came against New Zealand at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium. He also made a century against the England Lions on the West Indies tour of England and one for West Indies “A” against India “A” in St Lucia.
“I think I can make the adjustment in any format of the game. Once I train hard and do the basics, I can transfer my form from the longer formats to the T20 format and that gives me a chance of getting a big score,” he said.
“I’m in a really good frame of mind at the moment and I’m focussing on continuing my success. It was a really rewarding year for me with the bat at the top of the order. I batted well for West Indies this year and I want to continue for the Leewards.”
Speaking on behalf of his team-mates, Powell said he was pleased with the new set-up for the Caribbean T20, which runs from January 6 to 20. For 2013, the tournament will be played on a round-robin basis among the seven territorial teams.
The Leewards are due to have a preparatory camp in Antigua at year-end before they fly into Trinidad for the first round of matches. Powell is expected to open the batting with Sylvester Joseph, who is making a return to the team as captain after a four-year absence.
“The good thing this season is we have more matches, so even if you lose early you’re not in a desperate situation you still have a chance to make up…you have a chance to make a greater impact. I like the look of our team and I like our chances. We have ‘impact players’ and I can see us going deep into the tournament,” Powell said.
In two years at the WICB’s development programme, Powell has emerged as the poster boy for the Sagicor West Indies High Performance Centre. He credits the Sagicor WIHPC for the cricketer he has become, noting it has given him the platform to progress towards his ultimate goals of being a consistent, top-class performer for Leewards and West Indies.
“The time at the Sagicor WIHPC has totally changed my game. It has been a massive boost to my cricket. It has helped me with both the technical side and mental side of my game. It has helped to refine my game and overall I am now a calmer person. A lot of things I developed there I put into place, and I was able to assess the situation and go about the business of building an innings.
“There was a time I used to go in and look to play all the shots and see how many [runs] I could get. All that has changed now. I’m more settled and aware of my role. I look back at the time I spent at the Sagicor HPC and realise the changes I made in my game. I can truly say I learned a lot in the two years there and I will look to kick on and get bigger scores for the West Indies,” Powell added.
LEEWARD ISLANDS SQUAD: Sylvester Joseph (Captain), Kieran Powell (Vice Captain), Justin Athanaze, Shane Burton, Rahkeem Cornwall, Jahmar Hamilton, Chesney Hughes, Javia Liburd, Anthony Martin, Lyndel Richardson, Garvin Tonge, Devon Thomas, Kelbert Walters, Tonito Willett.
FULL TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE BELOW:
(AT QUEEN’S PARK OVAL, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad)
Sunday, January 6
Opening Ceremony – 4 p.m.
Trinidad & Tobago vs Jamaica – 8 p.m.
Monday, January 7
Barbados vs Leeward Islands – 4 p.m.
Guyana vs Combined Campuses & Colleges – 8 p.m.
Tuesday, January 8
Jamaica vs Barbados – 4 p.m.
Trinidad & Tobago vs Combined Campuses & Colleges – 8 p.m.
Wednesday, January 9
Windward Islands vs Jamaica – 4 p.m.
Trinidad & Tobago vs Leeward Islands – 8 p.m.
Thursday, January 10
Combined Campuses & Colleges vs Windward Islands – 4 p.m.
Guyana vs Barbados – 8 p.m.
Friday, January 11
Leeward Islands vs Jamaica – 4 p.m.
Combined Campuses & Colleges vs Barbados – 8 p.m.
Saturday, January 12
Windward Islands vs Leeward Islands – 4 p.m.
Trinidad & Tobago vs Guyana – 8 p.m.
(AT BEAUSEJOUR CRICKET GROUND, Gros Islet, St. Lucia)
Tuesday, January 15
Guyana vs Jamaica – 4 p.m.
Windward Islands vs Trinidad & Tobago – 8 p.m.
Wednesday, January 16
Combined Campuses & Colleges vs Leeward Islands – 4 p.m.
Barbados vs Trinidad & Tobago – 8 p.m.
Thursday, January 17
Leeward Islands vs Guyana – 4 p.m.
Windward Islands vs Barbados – 8 p.m.
Friday, January 18
Combined Campuses & Colleges vs Jamaica – 4 p.m.
Windward Islands vs Guyana – 8 p.m.
Saturday, January 19
Play-off: 2nd Place vs 3rd Place – 8 p.m.
Sunday, January 20
Grand Final: 1st Place vs Winner of Play-off – 8 p.m.
(West Indies Cricket Board)