New husband and father Keemo Paul reflects on 2022

-in exclusive interview with Brandon Corlette

Keemo Paul with his family

Guyana and West Indies all-rounder Keemo Paul, who finished the 2022 Regional Four-Day Championships as the leading fast-bowler with 20 wickets in nine innings, has transitioned to becoming a husband and father in the year 2022. He also made a return to the West Indies team after being absent for almost two years.
In an exclusive interview with this daily publication, Paul reflected on the 2022 season, spoke about his injury, and looked ahead to 2023, where being a stable all-rounder in the West Indies team is on his radar.

Fatherhood and Christmas plans
Paul got married in August 2022, and in October 2022, the birth of his first child left him speechless with joy. The 24-year-old Essequibian now describes 2022 as “awesome”.
“The joy is immense! I must give God thanks and praise. This year has been awesome for me. I have been blessed with a child (and) I am happily married. It is great, I really can’t complain. It is an overwhelming feeling, I really cannot put it in words, but I feel very privileged,” Paul said.

Flashback: Keemo Paul and his beautiful wife Shanece

The right-handed all-rounder who participated in the Abu Dhabi T10 League and is currently in the Lankan Premier League should return home on Christmas evening. He noted that he would be spending time with his family, and would be donating hampers to the less fortunate.
“I should get home Christmas evening, so I look forward to spend time with my family. I have been away for a month now, so I missed my family a lot. I missed my newborn a lot, so I just look forward to spend quality time with him and my immediate family,” he said.
“Christmas will be pretty simple. Me and my wife will be planning to do some hampers to give to less fortunate. Hopefully, we can bring some smiles to people, and that will mean the world to me this Christmas,” Paul said.

Keemo Paul launches in the 2022 CPL

Paul’s ankle injury
Paul has shown that he has a lion’s heart. He bowled long spells in the Regional Four-Day, fought through the senior inter-county to bowl at a shortened run-up to claim eight wickets in two matches; and he played a CPL match purely as a batsman.
“About the injury, in the CPL against Barbados I sprained my left ankle, the deltoid ligament in my left ankle. That took some time, as you know. The physio of Guyana Amazon Warriors, Jason Pilgrim, sent a programme and I had some work to do, and then Neil Barry Jr. helped me out.
“That was a very delicate area, that is where the pressure goes when you bowl. Even now, I still take precaution and strap my ankle and stuff. Other than that, my body is in excellent shape,” Paul explained.

First-Class and inter-county
Paul said playing First-Class cricket was a joy for him, and he was focused on enjoying his game.
“The Regional First-class season, what worked for me was finding back the joy in cricket. Just enjoying cricket, enjoying being on the park. I think that goes a long way. When you enjoy what you do, it becomes so much easier (that) it takes the stress of it away.”
Paul has shown his ability to play the power game, but his focus is to add a touch of class to his armory.
“I worked hard on my batting (since I was not bowling too much), it came out really good. I took the time to do some extra work on my batting, and that has been paying off thus far. I am pleased, but I want to keep moving forward with my batting, and I am very confident. I want to keep working on my defence, rotation of strike, and playing spin as good as possible. That is my aim. I can strike the ball already, so now I try to work on my touch game,” Paul said.
This patriotic resident of Saxacalli was filled with excitement at the inter-county, and he noted that the senior inter-county brought back a lot of memories.
“Playing inter-county was great this year. I was excited. The ankle was not 100%, but I had to go out there and represent. To see the guys won the first game, it made me really excited to go out and play. It was a joy for me. I played inter-county pretty young, and I remembered the joy when I scored my first 50,” Paul added.

Plans for 2023
The all-rounder is expected to play in South Africa’s new T20 league, but he is also aiming to be a stable all-rounder when he returns to the West Indies team.
Sharing his sentiments on playing T20 leagues, Paul said: “Playing in different franchises and different leagues helps a lot. You get to understand different conditions, and you get to test yourself and ability. It is also tough being away from family, but the exposure is good; everything comes with challenges”
The Essequibian, who played his last match for West Indies in August 2022 against India in Florida, is focused on putting his foot forward at present cricket matches, but he wants to make an impact on his West Indies return.
“Currently I am focused on the present. Whatever cricket I am playing, I want to do my best and take it step by step. Whenever I am selected for the West Indies, I will try my best to perform, but I am staying in the present at the moment. I do look forward to playing for the West Indies and making an impact, that is something I really want to do, to contribute and be a stable all-rounder in the West Indies team,” Paul noted.
Paul, who will celebrate his 25th birthday on February 21, has played three Tests for West Indies, 23 ODIs and 23 T20Is.