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The 20-year-old Baugh won the hearts of Barbadian cricket fans when he hit a stroke-filled 100 not out, embellished with 16 fours and a six off only 114 balls in 162 minutes on a placid Kensington Oval pitch.
“First, I must thank God. It was a good one for me. I just go out there, play positive and just bat,” said Baugh after his enterprising knock for the West Indies Under-23 ‘B’ team.
Baugh has enjoyed a wonderful first full season as a first-class cricketer to-date, scoring 470 runs in six matches at a commendable average of 47.00 with five fifties as well.
Along with his tidy glove-work, Baugh has been widely touted as a replacement for incumbent West Indies wicketkeeper, Ridley Jacobs, who is now in the twilight of his Test career.
“This is what I am playing for. It’s been a good feeling for me, looking forward to being on the West Indies team. I would be happy if I am selected,” Baugh said.
Baugh started this year’s Carib Beer Cup in grand style with knocks of 61 and 51 against Trinidad and Tobago and followed this up with scores of 11 and 50 versus Guyana before making 50 and 21 against his compatriots, Jamaica and 61 and 16 versus the Leeward Islands.
The diminutive right-handed stroke-maker says he is happy with his No.7 position in the batting order, where he has had to shepherd the lower order.
“I must say I am very comfortable because the top order has been doing fairly well and when it comes around for me to bat, I just go out there and stick around,” Baugh said.
Not afraid to play his shots and attack the bowling, Baugh moved into the nineties against Barbados with three fours in one over off lanky left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn before posting his hundred.
“I am not a cocky player. I just play what I see. I am a positive person and when the ball is there to hit, I will hit it,” Baugh added.
One of the features of his batting was the contest between himself and fiery Barbadian pacer Tino Best, who captured seven wickets in the match, including a five-wicket first innings haul when he trapped Baugh leg-before-wicket for a duck.
“Tino has been coming at me and that’s the thing I like. I like the challenge,” Baugh said noting West Indies star batsman Brian Lara is his favourite international cricketer.
Apart from his batting, which has seen him score half-centuries in every match this year, apart from against the Windward Islands when he made 49 in his only innings, Baugh has been quite impressive behind the stumps.
Baugh played just two matches last year before being sidelined for the rest of the season with a broken collarbone, which he sustained against Trinidad and Tobago.
“For me, that injury was a major setback because I was really looking forward to the West Indies ‘A’ team and I got struck on the collarbone and it really set me back,” Baugh noted.
Baugh’s father, Carlton Snr, is a former Jamaica first-class cricketer.
He attended the famous Woolmer Boys School, the alma mater of former Jamaica and West Indies wicketkeepers, Jackie Hendriks and Jeffrey Dujon as well as middle order batsman Maurice Foster.
“I know I have big shoes to fill. Just looking back at those names, they are great people,” Baugh noted but he said he is ready for the task that lies ahead.
“I like the challenge. I love to bat and whenever I get the chance, I’ll go out there and bat,” said Baugh, who scored 620 runs in five matches, batting at No.4 for his local club Melbourne in Jamaica.
Barbados’ captain Courtney Browne, a former West Indies wicketkeeper, praised Baugh for his work behind and in front the stumps but hopes he continues in that vein.
“Definitely one for the future. I thought he batted quite well. His wicket-keeping is tidy. I’ve seen a lot of young wicketkeepers come through so I don’t want to jump the gun in one match and seeing one and saying that he is it,” Browne contended.
“I need to see how he goes for a little while because you had the likes of (Matthew) Sinclair, (Keith) Hibbert, another guy (Andre Coley). We had young (Wayne) Phillip from the Windward Islands. We have (Vishal) Nagamootoo, who is still around for a while.
“So, we’ve a lot of young keepers but none of them seems to be able to go and raise their game; so hopefully now, this young guy (Baugh), that is coming through, he will take it,” Browne reasoned.