When a six-year-old Gudakesh Motie-Kanhai wandered on to Albion Sports Complex ground in Central Corentyne Berbice after being encouraged to join the club by his Belvedere Primary Schoolmate Kandasammy Surujnarine, it started an instant love affair with cricket and although many things have changed since then, including his name, Motie’s love for game remains the same.
I first saw Motie during the inter-county Under-15 tournament, the left-arm spinner was nine or 10 and not much taller than the wicket, a height he remained at until recently, when he sprang to his present six feet.
This week at the Providence Stadium on the East Bank of Demerara, over 100 miles from his home in Belvedere in East Berbice, he joined fellow Albion spinners Veerasammy Permaul and Devendra Bishoo as the only Guyanese to register a 10-wicket haul at this venue, which was constructed for 2007 World Cup.
Playing in only his second first-class match, the 20-year-old Motie, bowling with lots of variety, took 6-20 for the Guyana Jaguars against the Leewards Hurricanes to help send the visitors crashing to 85 all out then grabbed 5-85 in the second innings to finish with match figures of 11-105. Bishoo has achieved the feat three times, while Permaul has one 10-wicket haul at Providence.
Ironically, it was Permaul’s ankle injury that paved the way for Motie’s inclusion and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands, taking three wickets on debut against the Windwards Volcanoes before bagging 11 in the next match.
Little Motie knew he wanted to make cricket a career from the time he was first picked for Albion’s Under-15 team at age eight and he has not looked back since then.
“It’s always great to represent your country at the senior level and I was happy to be in the squad," said Motie, who first represented Guyana Under-15s as an 11-year-old.
“In the first match I was nervous but after I got my first wicket everything fell into place. I think I bowled well but there are still areas in which I need to improve and this is a great learning experience for me,” said the well spoken former Port Mourant Secondary School student.
Motie made his entry into this world on March 29, 1995 to Kanhai Motie and Tarmattie Harrilall and is the last of three children, the other two being girls. Angela is 22 and Rada is 21. Motie’s name is always a topic for debate since Cricinfo and a few other web sites has his name as Motie-Kanhai, while others list him as just Gudakesh Motie.
The Berbician, who also bats left-handed, explained that when he got his first passport his father’s first name was listed as his surname. His parents never bothered to correct the mistake and for years the managers of various national youth teams give the overseas media the name on his passport. As his name became more and more popular the correction was made when he was issued a new passport.
Unlike most Berbicians in the Guyana team, Motie never played for any club in Georgetown and credits former Guyana Under-19 Manager and Albion’s executive Veemen Walters, the senior players at Albion and the club’s coach Andre Percival with helping him the most in his career.
Motie made his national Under-15 debut in 2007 as an 11-year-old and played four years at that level before representing Guyana for two years at the Under-17 level and three years at the Under-19 level, making him the most capped Guyana youth player.
In 2013 Motie was selected for the West Indies Under-19 team for their tour of Bangladesh before playing for the Regional side in the 2014 Under-19 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
The talented left-arm spinner has also played in T&T, Barbados, St Kitts and Dominica and his best ever bowling figures at any level is 7-15 for Albion against New Amsterdam team Bermine at Under-17 level.
Motie enjoys playing games on his phone, watching television and playing football and even though he has the most wickets for Guyana in this season’s PCL tournament, three more than Steven Jacobs’ 11, he says his most memorable match was in the Under-19 World Cup in the UAE.
“We (West Indies) were playing Afghanistan and they had to get two runs to win in the last two overs with nine wickets down. I got the last man LBW to end with 2-23 to help West Indies to victory,” said Motie, who says his favorite food is fried rice or chow-mein with chicken.
“It’s a big deal to share a record (1O-wicket match haul) with two players that I look up to and who are both Test players (Permaul & Bishoo) and I am happy to continue the trend set by Albion bowlers,” Motie said with a satisfied smile.
When asked what were his goals for his first season in first-class cricket, Motie said he was aiming for about 40 wickets.
“I don’t really set goals. I would be happy just to be among the top wicket-takers," added Motie, who sits only behind Shane Shillingford's 17 scalps after two matches.