If Sir Vivian Richards praises a cricketer, trust him to be special. “Keep your head high, Shimron Hetmyer. You are doing great. Hope to see much more performances like these from you,” he wrote on Twitter , after Hetmyer’s ton against India in Guwahati.

Hetmyer had a dismal Test series — 50 runs in four innings — but in the ODIs, he is turning out to be Windies’ protagonist with the bat. The left-hander, who is a Brian Lara fan, smashed a hundred and a game-changing 94 in the first two ODIs against India.

“I’m a natural stroke-maker. When it comes off, it feels good,” said Hetmyer after scoring the ton.

The Hetmyer effect

Blessed with natural flair and power, Hetmyer's ability to clear the boundary consistently have had a positive impact on the Windies. In Guwahati, Hetmyer walked in with his team reeling at 86/3 and added 162 runs; 106 of which came off his blade — in three different partnerships before being dismissed.

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In the second ODI, the pressure of chasing a stiff target (322) brought the best out of Hetmyer, who scored 94 runs off 64 balls to put the Windies in sight of a victory.

How it began

Hetmyer is relatively new at the international level, having made his debut in April 2017. His potential, though, has had him dreaming big since age-group cricket.

Having started to play cricket at the age of nine, the Guyana-born Hetmyer transitioned seamlessly across different age-groups and went on to lead the Guyana Under-19 and the Windies Under-19 teams at 18. He was part of the Windies' Under-19 World Cup team in 2014 and, two years later, led it to its maiden Under-19 World Cup win.

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Hetmyer's promise helped him land a CPL contract with home franchise Guyana Amazon Warriors in 2016. He has not looked back since and appears to be the next big thing in Windies cricket.

His three ODI centuries have all come at well above a run-a-ball and in the recently-concluded sixth edition of the CPL, Hetmyer was the third-highest run-scorer (with 440 runs).

If he maintains form, Windies can dream of a better future.