I had been referred by a local sports pundit to interview a young and upcoming bowler, and as is the norm I had already formulated this image of a tall, lanky figure in my head. To my pleasant surprise, the chap was the exact opposite, not that I was disappointed though.
Diminutive yet determined, Simeon Prince Gerson is a 13-year-old of Morne Fortune, Castries. A form two student of the Saint Mary’s College (SMC), the young spinner has erased the skeptic notions which are directed to his size and replaced them with his element of surprise. Barely even five feet, the youngster’s passion for the game has led him to the heights of secondary school, National and Windwards U15 and even senior cricket for Gros Islet.
How did you develop a love for cricket?
SG: I always wanted to play football but a coach from my primary school saw me playing cricket and he asked me to go into grassroots cricket. I did so and there I got to work with coaches like Jonathon Khodra, Mr. Smith and Mr. Tyron Harris, and little by little I got better.
Which professional cricketers do you look up to and why?
SG: I really like Sunil Narine and Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Narine is a mystery spin bowler. Chanderpaul is a patient batsman and I love the way he maneuvers the ball through the field.
You made the SMC side in form one; what were your best performances for the school?
SG: My best bowling figures were 3 for 2 (3 wickets for 2 runs) and best score was 29 runs n.o (not out).
At what age did you make the Saint Lucia (U15) side and what propelled you to being selected for the side?
SG: I made the side at age 12 when I was in form 1. It was definitely my involvement in the grassroots
program that got me to the national team because that was before I began playing for SMC.
What is your best performance for the National U15 side?
SG: My best is 5 for 3 versus Dominica.
Tell HYPE readers of the experience of playing for the Windwards U15 team.
SG: Since it was my first time, I really wanted to be the best that I can be; so I worked really hard because I know the competition is tough.
You captured the award for most wickets at the Windwards tournament, how many did you take in total and what did it do for your confidence?
SG: I was able to take 13 wickets, but I had to share the award with a Grenadian, because he took the same number as me. It really meant a lot, because I didn’t expect do so well at my first tournament.
What do you enjoy doing apart from playing cricket?
SG: I love music and playing music. I really love the drums; I used to play the violin but I play the drums now.
How are you able to balance your academics, cricket and your music?
SG: Well I have specific days during the week for cricket and music. The other days are designated for schoolwork, but I do have a study schedule.
In terms of your cricketing career, what is your primary objective?
SG: I would like to be the youngest person to make the West Indies senior team.
And how do you plan on obtaining that objective?
SG: I will work on my physical fitness, work hard at my bowling; try to master as much technique as I can and to be consistently taking wickets.
You now play your cricket with the John Eugene Academy; what is your opinion of the academy and its role in your development?
SG: I was actually playing a match against Mr. Eugene’s team while playing at grassroots level and he asked me to sign up for his academy. He believed that I was ready to move on from grassroots and I joined. I think I play on a different level now that I am at the academy.
What would you like to do besides play cricket?
SG: I’d love to be an architect and a drummer like Tony Royster (smiles).
I also spoke with Simeon’s mother, Mrs. Gerson, who along with the rest of the family is very supportive of Simeon’s cricketing endeavors.
Mrs. Gerson: “We are aware of my son’s passion for the game and we do our best to support him as much as we can. I attend all his games, his father practices with him in our hallway at home; gives him tips and advice on how to improve his game. But I think Simeon’s coaches have been very instrumental in his development; from Jonathon Khodra and Tyron Harris, to Alton Crafton and especially John Eugene for realizing his potential and we give credit to him for his growth and making it to the National and Windwards team.
Since starting out at age seven, Simeon has gone on to captain his grassroots and U13 side and captured the most wickets for the National U15 side.