Spotted in the nets by West Indies legend Brian Lara, right-arm pacer Fidel Edwards was called up for his Test debut against Sri Lanka after just one match for Barbados at the age of 21. After making an extraordinary debut in Test and ODI Fidel went on to play 55 Tests, 50 ODIs and 20 T20Is for West Indies. Despite troubled with series of injuries that had hampered his consistency he kept marching until 2012 when he played his last Test and picked seven wickets in the game, against hosts Bangladesh. Minhaz Uddin Khan of Dhaka Tribune reached the 38-year old Edwards, who had once attracted all attention in international cricket with his thrilling fast-bowling action, trying to find out his current whereabouts and his thoughts on sudden end to his international career. Below are the excerpts
Q. It was indeed a dream international debut for you. Your six wickets on ODI debut is still the most number of wickets by a bowler on debut alongside Kagiso Rabada. You still cherish that moment?
FE: That was so longtime ago. I still try to cherish every wicket I take till now let it me playing one-day or Test or even T20. I can never forget the first wicket I took. It has been good outing for me, I can remember like it happened yesterday. I can remember what Brian [Lara] told me when I was about to bowl, I was pretty nervous at that time but after I took the first wicket, everything had just fallen into the place. At that time I was young, getting into international cricket. I was not thinking of setting record or breaking record of that sort. For me it was just to go down there and bowl as quickly as possible. But everything fell into its place since I got my first wicket. Even though after the game I did not realise what I have done until the coach and everyone else told me of what I had done.
Q. You are among the very few in international cricket to pick five wicket hauls in both ODI and Test debuts. You also bagged five wickets on your first Test abroad. Are you disappointed how your international career came to an end?
FE: Yeah, I felt a bit disappointed having not played Test after that. I guess it was probably the coach who had thought of it or something like that. For me I don’t think I have done anything wrong. Going to Bangladesh I was actually not selected for that series. I had only come to the squad after someone got injured. I also played the T20 competition but after I came back to Barbados I did not get selected then onwards. But all this was a long time ago. I am still playing at high level, in England [county] and I am happy how it is going with my career.
Q. Any particular Bangladesh batsman which you remember of having wicket of? Why was that memorable?
FE: I cannot say there is because you know there are always different target and mostly the strongest batsman in the team. So it can be whoever, we as bowlers usually try to target him.
Q. There is always a fascinating sight about your thrilling round arm bowling action? Tell us how you adapt to that action?
FE: I always had the action with me since I was a kid. My teacher probably had tried to change my run up but I always had this action when I started playing the game.
Q. You have been successfully playing for county side Hampshire since 2015. Still enjoying bowling fast?
FE: Put it this way, have it started enjoying, you will be able to hear that when I retire fully from cricket. But up to this day I still enjoy the same way it has been from my first Test game. I have not stopped loving the sport but I should say I am more now into cricket then when I was 18 or 19. I have learnt more now, I know the game more now than when I was young. I pay more attention to the game than anything else. So I am loving the game just like before.
Q. Any fast bowler from Bangladesh that have caught your attention recently?
FE: I have not really watched much Bangladesh cricket but the last time I saw there was [Mustafizur Rahman] who was going well.
Q. What are the challenges of bowling in the subcontinent?
FE: I have always enjoyed bowling in the subcontinent because you can still bowl fast and succeed but you need to use bowling intelligence. That wicket when I bowled Rahul Dravid in a Test in India, a swinging Yorker, was a moment when I got it just right!
Q. What do you enjoy most about your job?
FE: Just bowling fast and getting wickets. I love taking wickets let it be comeing from a straight ball or a swing or from a Yorker. I just love taking wickets.
Q. Might we see you in another BPL?
FE: I really hope so. I took six wickets in my last Test there - I took 4-11 in a BPL match for Khulna, I’ve always enjoyed my cricket there. And I’m a much better all-round bowler now than I was back then so it would be nice if I can put my skills to the test in another BPL.
Q. Castro is your nickname. Believe you like when someone calls you Fidel Castro.
FE: I cannot say if I enjoy being called it but it got stuck on me and so I got used to it. I cannot remember when someone first called me that. I guess it came around from Cuban leader Fidel Castro, so it has stuck on me since then. One person would always call me that and it was Shiv [Shivnarine Chanderpaul], he was always calling me by that.