But never fulfilled his immense talent shown at 16
By Sean Devers
Guyana dominated Regional U-19 cricket in the 1990s winning an unprecedented six consecutive 3-day titles from 1992 to 1997 and Berbician Andre Ricardo Percival is the most successful U-19 Captain in the Caribbean, winning from 1992-1994.
Mahendra Nagamootoo (1995 Grenada), Vishaul Nagamootoo (1996 Jamaica) and Ramnaresh Sarwan (1997 Guyana) were the other Captains to win Championships honours during that period.
Clive Lloyd is the most successful West Indies Test Skipper, while Leon Johnson is the most successful Regional First-Class Captain and Percival, who led the West Indies at U-19 level, joined his Countrymen as excellent tacticians on the cricket field.
In 1992 the pair of left-handers, Percival and Shiv Chanderpaul, made their First-Class debuts as 16-year-olds and rest is history.
In a 31-match career which lasted up to 2005, Percival batted 54 times, scored 1,271 runs with a highest score of 96 at an average of 27.04 with seven fifties including 96 in 2002 and 91 in 1997.
Percival enjoyed his best years in First-Class Cricket in 1996 and 2003 when he scored two fifties in those seasons.
Percival favoured the Bajan attack and three of his seven fifties were made against them including his 96 and 91 when he was dismissed with a beauty from Ian Bradshaw.
In Regional 50-over cricket, Percival made 234 runs from 22 matches from 14 innings between 1994 and 1999 with a highest score of 45 in 1995 and an average 21.27.
The 45-year-old played four T20 games in the 2006 Stanford T20 tournament in Antigua. He also played two T20 games for Suriname in Florida in 2013.
Percival has a highest score of 195 against Essequibo and two centuries and nine half-centuries after making his debut for Berbice as promising teenager.
Percival has three First-Class wickets and one each in Regional 50-over format and T20s, bowling right-are medium pace.
He played 22 matches in five years at the youth level and scored three fifties and a century before leading the West Indies colts in five Youth Tests and three ‘ODIs’ against England.
The former Berbice and Guyana batsman was born January 5, 1975 to Gordon and Easter grew up in Rose Hall Town.
Percival, who has two sisters and one brother, attended Rose Hall Primary, Lower Corentyne Secondary and then moved on to Corentyne Comprehensive.
“I first got interested in cricket from playing in the school yard and on the street. I was told to join a club that’s how it all started,” informed Percival who began playing at the first division level as a school boy.
A hard worker, Percival was an attractive middle order batsman who played for Malteenoes in Georgetown and Port Mourant, Albion and Rose Hall Town Youth & Sports club in Berbice. He also represented Church Cricket Club in the Transco Lancashire League in 2002.
After good performances for Berbice at the U-19 level, he made the Guyana U-19 team at age 15 in the 1990 Northern Telecom Regional Youth Championship, played in Trinidad and Tobago.
He scored his only century in his fourth and last year in youth cricket, against Trinidad and Tobago at the Wanderers ground in Barbados, in 1994.
“My most memorable match was getting that hundred against Trinidad in my final year in youth level, while my most memorable game for West Indies U-19 against young England, the team was in trouble and I made a match winning innings,” Percival disclosed.
With the pressure mounting and the balls running out Percival hit a cameo unbeaten 17 from nine balls and hit the winning run against Jamaica in the inaugural Stanford T20 in Antigua before Guyana beat T&T in the final to make Percival and his team-mates Millionaires. Percival was then 31.
“At the senior level for Guyana in the Stanford T20 Tournament, finishing off the game against Jamaica and winning the title are some of my most my most unforgettable moments,” informed Percival, who has two kids.
“The fastest bowler I ever faced was Nixon McLean. We were playing a Regional tournament in St Vincent and he bowled really fast that day…so yeah he is the fastest I faced,” said Percival who played football but just at club level.
“Back in our days in club cricket we used to put a lot of effort into the game and played for pride but it is mostly about the money now and many players are not doing what they are supposed to be doing.
We need more cricket constantly at both the club and Franchise level. It’s like you play now and another few months after you play again, we need more competitive cricket, better facilities with better pitches,” said Percival whose favourite player is Gordon Greenidge.
Percival, whose biggest disappointment was not playing Test cricket, advised young players to take the game serious, focus on their role and remain disciplined.
A Coach and part time Taxi driver, Percival enjoy socialising with friends and family and loves Curried Chicken.
In 2018 the new executives of the Hilbert Foster led Berbice Cricket Board appointed Percival and Delbert Hicks as manager and coach respectively of the Berbice U-17 team. Percival is a Berbice and National Women’s Coach.
As a National Women’s Coach, Percival is dissatisfied with the way the Women’s game in Guyana is being treated.
“Not enough is being done for Women’s cricket. For Women’s cricket to improve we need more matches. They need to get together more, we just can’t pick a team a few days before a tournament and have very little time to prepare and hope to be successful.
When you looked at the female school cricket tournament which is supposed to be a feeder for the Guyana U-19 team, the standard was very poor with some of them playing cricket for the first time. I think Coaches or National players should be sent to work with the boys and girls and then help to pick the various school teams,” said Percival.
He commended the Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports club for being the only club in Guyana with systems which caters for female cricketers.
“There is no hardball cricket for females to play in Demerara and Essequibo and I believe that in Georgetown the only cricket they get to is for softball teams as preparation for the Women’s inter-county tournaments,” concluded Percival.
At the Ceremony to celebrate the Berbice Cricket Board 80 anniversary last year, Percival was among those who were honoured for their contribution to Berbice and Guyana’s cricket.