So Carlos what is the cricket culture like growing up in the Caribbean?
The cricket culture in the Caribbean is very laid back, you do train hard and you work hard but it’s common for both teams to share a drink at the end of the day. Sometimes a day’s play can run right into the night because guys are just chilling and talking about history or events that have happened in the past, especially the battles against each other.
Was pro cricket always the dream for you, or were there other passions?
I always wanted to be a pro cricketer and I also wanted to be an entrepreneur for as long as I can remember. I remember having a very important meeting or I suppose discussion with my mum, thankfully she understood where I was coming from in relation to school and cricket and the opportunities that cricket presented at that delicate age.
I think I was nineteen when I came to a cross roads, should I carry on with university and pick up cricket later or should I devote a few years to the game. I decided I would see how that went, knowing that I could get a degree at a later stage if necessary. So that was very important and thankfully my career has turned out well and I have repaid my mum’s faith.
Could you tell us how you came to know God for yourself?
I was brought up in a Christian home, my mum is a very devout Christian and I always went to Sunday school. It was all around me to be fair, going to church and Sunday school would always be very much apart of the day. So from a young age I was introduced to Christianity and I grew with it for myself, I fell off the wagon at times but it is ingrained in me and my faith is part of my foundation.
You have become a bit of a West Indies star already after your T20 World Cup final antics, it must have been an incredible feeling to hit those four sixes to win it?
Well the World T20 final has changed my life, I don’t even know how to explain how I actually hit those sixes but it was an amazing feeling. It was just one of those fairy-tales that you actually get to live out and it was a dream come true to win a World Cup and what a way to win it. To be part of an epic final and then hitting four sixes in the way that I did, it was something that I had never dreamed about. I was speechless to be honest.
Since then obviously the hype surrounding you has exploded, has it been difficult to manage? Or is it just exciting?
I found the growing popularity hard to handle to be fair, we never got to close the chapter after winning the World Cup, some of my team jetted back to the Caribbean to enjoy the celebrations but I was with my IPL franchise. So I was caught with trying to prepare for this new tournament but at the same time enjoy the celebrations from the last one, obviously I had to be respectful of my team mates. One of my team mates was part of the England team as well so I was not going to gloat. I found it difficult, answering questions about the four sixes whilst I was trying to concentrate on my new team who, like me were preparing to try and win the IPL tournament.
I would not say that it has become normal but it is easier to adjust coming from India to any other country because of how mad India is about cricket. So all in all I think the fact that everything happened, the World Cup victory, in India was a positive so I was able to experience the hardest scenario first hand. Everywhere else I go will make it seem easier, although I doubt this will ever feel normal.
What is God teaching you right now, through your cricket?
I think God is teaching me humility, I have been so fortunate to share an IPL dressing room with Imran Tahir, JP Duminy and Rahul Dravid, guys who are so humble. They have achieved so much in cricket and and when fans come up to them in cricket-mad India hounding them for pictures, they are so polite in saying yes or no. For me, to get the same praise that they are showered with is hard to accept. It’s now time for me to bring that humility back to the Caribbean and be a shining light to my peers and show it where ever I go.
Outside of Cricket, what other sports or teams do you follow?
I am a big Manchester United fan and also a big Lakers fan, well actually I would probably say a big Kobe (Bryant) fan. I don’t really follow basketball as much as I used to but I do also like Kevin Durant. Team-wise I only really consistently follow Manchester United.
Do you see your cricketing ability as a gift from God?
I do see my ability as a gift from God, my dad tells the story of me being two or three years old and playing drives in the back yard. What I would say is that I also work very hard and I think that sometimes people take gifts from God and expect that you don’t have to do anything to it, it just matures and you just get better. There is a lot of hard work to be done and it’s like the man in the Bible who got given talents and doubled them compared with the man who got his talent and buried it. So while this is a gift from God and I appreciate it, there is also still a lot of hard work to be done to eventually mature it and reap success.
Who is the best player that you have played with and why?
Recently the best player that I have played against would be Virat Kohli, he is classy and dominant at the same time. He is prolific and right at the this moment is one of the best, if not the best, player in the world. He scored a fifty against my team in the IPL and also a double hundred in our recent Antigua test match so I have felt the brunt of his blade in my recent memory.
Tell us about your experience in the IPL with Delhi, how good has that been for your development?
My experience with Delhi was really unforgettable, to firstly work with someone who I had idolised from my youth days in Rahul Dravid and then to actually come to know the person Rahul Dravid a lot better, that was a highlight. It was so memorable to be able to work with him and then to learn a lot from him, I had some one on one sessions with him where I learnt to play spin a bit better. That has really helped my game and I am a better player of spin now then I first went to Delhi.
I have also come to understand how other people prepare and that has helped me choose how I prepare myself. So it has been a massive boost for my development and I look forward to being back with Delhi, if retained and I hope for an ever better season next time out.
Do you have a favourite bible verse that encourages you?
To be honest I am not as good with the Bible as I should be, it’s something that I have identified, so most of my conversations about Christianity come from a moral point of view. My favourite verse was always ‘Jesus wept’ because I think men feel that they need to be strong and macho and if Jesus can cry, why can’t I? That verse allowed me to connect with my emotions in a way.
Do you have fellow Christian cricketers that you connect with?
My Christian friends in cricket would be Andre Fletcher in the West Indies team who is the ‘preacher’, we have another spiritual guy in our team although he is not a player, Dexter Augustus who is the video analyst. Outside of that, in the IPL there’s myself and JP Duminy, we really connect as Christians and we have had a few one on ones where we chatted about our faith, how we should be as Christian athletes and everything going on in cricket. That was really good in the IPL just to sit and chat, to get things off your chest and he is someone I can confide in and he can in me too.