Junior Sinclair won the Lasco Food Drink Emerging Player award at the 2023 Republic Bank Caribbean Premier League, but he made his T20 debut in 2022. He had to wait for his second game for the Guyana Amazon Warriors, against the Barbados Royals. to claim his first wicket. A muted celebration followed his claiming of the wicket of Rahkeem Cornwall. It was when he dismissed Kyle Mayers that we saw Sinclair celebrate with a remarkably athletic flip.
“That started back home,” Sinclair says. “Growing up in the countryside, in Berbice, we were always playing cricket in the streets, backyard cricket. It was a very competitive home with my brothers and family. When there was no school and you had free time, it was cricket. And so we would go on the ball field to play cricket and when you finish you get tired, there is a lake nearby we would go and swim and you practice those flips there. And I thought why not try it in the CPL.”
A tall off-spinner, Sinclair is 22 and has performed well enough to make it into the West Indies Emerging team that took on Ireland in 50 over games recently, and he relished the chance to represent the region.
“I always wanted to put on that maroon. It was good, definitely a learning experience for me. I learned a lot, the coaching was very helpful. I was trying to get as much as I can while I was over there working with the coaches on all aspects of my game.”
Sinclair was just 12 years old when the first CPL match took place, and he has always wanted to be part of the Amazon Warriors setup, so getting to represent his home franchise is a dream come true.
“Growing up I was wanting to be a part of the Warriors team. I always want to be here, my style of game, and also the format. It is great that I could actually be a part of such a franchise and the CPL setup. The CPL gave me a call for the West Indies Emerging team earlier this month, so it has played a significant part.”
Having been a Warriors fan for so many years, Sinclair describes being part of the team that won the title in 2023 as “surreal”.
“Prior to me getting into this squad I was always looking forward to that championship moment for the Warriors. From the inception in 2013, Guyana was regarded as one of the most consistent franchises but never place hands on that trophy. To actually be a part of that team that won it for the first time, that was a dream come true. When I get home after the tournament, reflecting back on it, it was like “wow”, it's such a beautiful thing to actually be a part of that team.
“It is a very, very, friendly environment. Everybody is so loving and camaraderie between everybody. So, you know, it's very good. I enjoy every moment, every second of it.”
Sinclair is full of praise for everyone involved in the triumphant Warriors team, but he picks out the captain, Imran Tahir, as someone who has played a big part in this year’s success and in terms of helping him with his career.
“Imran Tahir is someone you can approach. We had a lot of talks and he asked me questions and he tried to pick my brain and see where I'm at and stuff like that. He has a very outgoing personality which I love. You could go up to him, he is like a father figure. He makes it so easy to chat to him. He's willing to share his knowledge and makes you feel welcome.”
Sinclair has been part of the Amazon Warriors squad as a Lasco Emerging Player and won the award for the best youngster at the 2023 tournament. He says the Emerging Player programme at the CPL is important to young cricketers like him. This ensures that there is a minimum of 30 appearances across the tournament for the 12 Emerging Players.
“It's very good, it gives us as youngsters a good platform to rub shoulders with senior guys in the region and international guys. You could pick their brain and try to implement stuff from their game into your game. As a youngster it is all about development and I saw that as a big step, a big part of my development, so I think it's very good inclusion. In my view it as a great opportunity. I saw it as an opportunity for me to showcase my talent.”