It was Christmas 2012.
Single mom, Cheryl Alexander, lived with her four children in a small house in Jacob’s Hill, Wallerfield blocked around with plywood and galvanise sheets.
As he poured water on the turf at the National Cricket Centre (NCC) in Couva, yesterday morning, Rukam Jaggernauth would have remembered the great days his son Amit enjoyed on that strip, as a right arm off-spinner.
Yesterday, Amit called play on his illustrious first class career which spanned 11 seasons. The Bank Village, Carapichiama resident informed the CEO of the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB), Suruj Ragoonath, at 11.15 am yesterday morning, that he had enough and thanked the board for giving him the opportunity to represent the country and even the West Indies for whom he played one Test match.
He hangs up his bowling boots as the second highest wicket-taker for T&T at the regional level, behind fellow off-spinner Rangy Nanan. The Preysal man finished with 366 wickets at an average of 23.
The 30-year old Jaggernauth made his first class debut for T&T in 2002 and played 69 matches taking 265 wickets for 6,508 runs at an average of 24.55. His best bowling figures were 7/45 and he took five wickets or more 14 times in his career. He signed off against Guyana in the WICB President’s Trophy with figures off 4/78 and 1/18 last weekend at Providence.
Jaggernauth said yesterday: “I played against Guyana last week and I did not enjoy it. Being realistic I don’t see myself getting a chance to play for the West Indies anymore and this affected my motivation. With this loss of motivation came a lack of enjoyment. I told myself I had enough and since I was not enjoying my cricket, then I should not keep any young player out of the team. I will now make my way off and another young player can come in and look to build a career for himself.”
Jaggernauth’s decision comes just two days before T&T goes into battle against the Windwards in the semifinals of the Weekes/Headley Trophy, so what could caused this sudden change of heart?
“I have been considering my exit since last season. I was due to begin my degree but missed the deadline for registration and decided to give T&T cricket one more year. So it is not a case of something happening since the last game in Guyana. It has been at the forefront of my mind and I decided that the time had come. I wish the team all the best going forward and especially for the rest of the season.
“We have a great bunch of guys representing T&T and I know that they want the title badly and will be going out there to fight for it.”
Jaggernauth started his early days as a batsman and although he became known for his exploits with the ball, he was still able to score 722 first class runs.
Jaggernauth played one Test against Australia in 2008 at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica, snaring one wicket.
At the time of his retirement, Jaggernauth was a member of the Queen’s Park Cricket Club.
Since making his debut, Jaggernauth has been one of the most consistent performers in T&T domestic cricket, and in 2006-07 was the leading wicket-taker in the regional four-day competition, then called the Carib Beer Series.
He spent two summers in 2006 and 2007, playing league cricket in Sussex, England. He was the second-highest wicket-taker of the 2007-08 Carib Beer Series with a haul of 40 wickets and was rewarded with a call-up to the Test side for the home series against Sri Lanka, although he did not make the starting line-up.
However, he made his Test debut in West Indies’ next home series, against Australia at Sabina Park which proved to be his solitary foray at the highest level of the game.
President of the TTCB, Azim Bassarath Bassarath said Jaggernauth was also close to his family and was even honoured by the Superstars Sports Club of Moruga when he was called up to play for the national Under-15 team.
“Since then I have closely followed his career and was not surprised when he developed into becoming one of the best spinners in the Caribbean, taking a regional best of 40 wickets in 2006-2007,” said Bassarath.
“Although he played only one Test, we were all quite happy that he got the opportunity to wear the maroon cap for the West Indies.
“We at the T&TCB will acknowledge his contribution to local cricket in some tangible fashion. We are sure that he will remain in the game as he has been involved in it since a toddler.”