Can an international cricketer make a success of Major League Baseball? If Kieran Powell is any guide, then we’re about to find out. According to reports from The New York Post and Daily Telegraph, the former West Indies batsmen was in Bradenton, Florida looking to impress scouts from both New York franchises the Mets and Yankees.
While the two sports seem to mirror each other across the cultural divide, few have had the courage or conviction to genuinely try switching codes. Jarryd Hayne’s venture from the National Rugby League to the NFL followed multiple AFL athletes becoming punters in the same league, but this latest attempt from Powell is a completely different dynamic.
Don Bradman’s infamous meeting with Babe Ruth in the 1930s illustrated why neither party could truly get along with the other. Despite being the premier player in their respective sports, Bradman and Ruth kept a distance and failed to develop a personal or sporting relationship. Perhaps cricket and baseball are never meant to coexist beyond their own domains?
This is why Kieran Powell’s bold step into the MLB world is so intriguing and comes at an opportune moment. With T20 cricket dominating the field to create an environment of freelance athletes trading from one domestic competition to the next, the West Indian’s venture into baseball should be acknowledged as a tremendous pioneering move. If the game of cricket can undergo a serious transformation internally, why can’t sportsmen and women utilise their skills externally?
Powell’s statistics won’t have the West Indies despairing too much. Averaging 27 with the bat in Test Match and One Day International cricket, the left-hander jumped ship from the sport to pursue his MLB dream amidst a dark cloud of disunity and chaos within West Indies Cricket. Void of a long term plan to right this wrong, there is the possibility of more players making the move. At 25 the big hitter is giving himself every chance to make this work.
“I’ve had multiple tryouts with a couple of big teams already, including the New York Mets,” Powell told Examiner.com.
“To get the proper training I had to come to the US, so I’ve been getting the required training to make sure I drop the cricket habits and pick up the baseball habits. It’s bee coming along really nicely.
“I thought this was a great opportunity I couldn’t pass up, it’s an amazing story.”
Lets hope this one has a happy ending.