Tue | Oct 23, 2018

The best is yet to come for Walton

Published:Tuesday | January 16, 2018 | 12:00 AMJermaine Lannaman/Gleaner Writer

West Indies wicketkeeper-batsman and first-time RJRGleaner Sports Foundation National Sportsman of the Year nominee, Chadwick Walton, since representing Jamaica at the youth level has had a reputation of being a big-hitting batsman and may blossom into one of the best in the region.

Such was his ability to bat that although he was wicketkeeper, if required, he could make a team as a specialist batsman, as has been the case with him representing the West Indies and Jamaica.

As it turned out, the year 2017, however, was the first time that Walton came close to showing his full potential. When playing as a batsman for the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 championship, he emerged as the tournament's top runs scorer, and, most valuable player.

The St Elizabeth native, and former Munro College and University of the West Indies representative, scored an impressive 458 runs from 12 matches for the Guyana Amazon Warriors to emerge ahead of several recognised international players.

These include, Sri Lankan batting great Kumar Sangakkara, who, while representing the Jamaica Tallawahs totalled 379 runs, and batting superstar Chris Gayle, who representing beaten finalists St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, scored 376 runs.

The 32-year-old Walton was drafted by the Amazon Warriors in the off season after playing an integral role in helping Jamaica Tallawahs to their second Caribbean Premier League title in 2016. He helped the Guyanese franchise to reach the playoffs before succumbing to eventual champions Trinidad and Tobago Red Force.

The Jamaica Scorpions wicketkeeper, in the ongoing regional first-class championship, ended with an average of 41.63, scored three half-centuries, and finished with a top score of 92 at a strike rate of 145.85 for the Amazon Warriors.

His performances also saw him being selected to participate in the Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 in November followed by a recall to the West Indies one-day and Twenty20 teams on their tour of New Zealand.

A player who is yet to realise his fullest potential, Walton will be hoping that in light of being nominated alongside Gayle and spin bowler Nikita Miller as cricketers for this year's Sportsman of the Year award, this feat is the start of greater things to come.