This Story Was First Published On Fox Sports, Cricket.
KIERAN Powell was playing Test cricket last year and, if not for a fallout with the West Indies Cricket Board, would probably be in action against Australia this summer.
Instead, he’s trying to make it in Major League Baseball.
It’s not a long way physically from Powell’s home island of Nevis (of St Kitts & Nevis fame) to the IMG Academy in Florida, but it’s a veritable world away from what the 25-year-old is used to.
A talented batsman in cricket, Powell is aiming to translate those skills into being a baseball batter of some repute.
“An opportunity came about after a few discrepancies with the West Indies cricket board I decided to take some time off from cricket and some footage of me playing cricket was seen by the LA Dodgers,” Powell told Fairfax Media.
“I’ve had some training out here in the US for a few months.”
Powell admits that cricket remains his first love, but doesn’t exactly hold out hope of returning to the game at a serious level.
“Baseball is my priority right now,” Powell told Fairfax Media. “It’s an interesting game, I’ve loved every minute of it so far, and I hope to continue doing it for the rest of my career.”
The left-hander last played for the Windies in June 2014, and has featured in a total of 21 Tests, 28 ODIs and one T20 International.
He was a standout performer during the Caribbean side’s last visit to Australia before this summer, scoring 83 and 47 in back-to-back one-dayers in Perth and Canberra in 2013.
Powell has two Test hundreds to his name – one in New Zealand, and two in the same match against Bangladesh – but an overall batting average of 27.48 suggests he was yet to fully come to terms with his game.
Sadly for Windies fans, he may never get there as he seems set on making it in the MLB.
(Kieran Powell bats during a one-dayer against New Zealand in January 2014. Source: Getty Images)
Kieran Powell bats during a one-dayer against New Zealand in January 2014. Source: Getty Images
It isn’t the first time a cricketer has flirted with a career in America’s pastime.
Last year Australian legend Brett Lee told foxsports.com.au of the time he was invited to a trial with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2003.
One of the fastest bowlers in cricket history who also had a bullet arm in the field, the Diamondbacks were interested in Lee as a pitcher.
“It was a pretty incredible experience,” Lee told foxsports.com.au. “To be recognised as a guy that can throw a ball at a decent pace, to me that was first and foremost a big honour for me. The chance to go down and throw a couple of balls was fun.”
So just how fast could one of cricket’s quickest ever bowlers send down a baseball with a bent arm?
“I was in the early to mid-90s miles per hour (145 to 153km/h).
(Kieran Powell reacts after being bowled by New Zealand’s Tim Southee. Source: Getty Images)
Kieran Powell reacts after being bowled by New Zealand’s Tim Southee. Source: Getty Images
“These days their top pitchers are around 95 to 100 miles per hour from what I’m told, so it’s serious pace.”
More recently, Australia batsman David Warner reportedly attracted interest from a Major League Baseball team and even went to the US to find out more, but decided to stick with cricket.
The origins of Powell’s defection from the sport can be traced to his decision to step away from cricket in June last year due to personal reasons.
A subsequent war of words with WICB cricket director Richard Pybus saw Powell omitted from the Windies’ World Cup squads earlier this year, and his last game of first-class cricket surprisingly came in Sri Lanka’s domestic competition, for Tamil Union.