Shimron Hetmyer has witnessed a meteoric rise in cricket over the past few months. He has also shared the dressing room with two of the finest batsman of this generation, Indian cricket skipper Virat Kohli and Windies colleague and powerhouse Chris Gayle, courtesy to which he has learned the trade of how to operate in the biggest stages and soak up the pressure.

Recently, Hetmyer was alongside Kohli in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), where the side had a dismal season. The 22-year-old also failed to impress in the T20 event.

Having won the Under-19 World Cup, Hetmyer was touted as one of the upcoming big names in the sport. After impressing at the junior stages, he was roped in by the Indian Premier League (IPL) for a hefty price tag of 4.2 crores. However, he is yet to live up to the expectations in the tournament as he could just notch the score of 90 runs in his five matches played so far.

Ahead of West Indies’ opening World Cup match against Pakistan, the young batsman has been overshadowed by the experienced and talisman figures of his team starring the likes of Chris Gayle, Shai Hope and Andre Russell. However, he has insisted that he is at the right space.

“It’s a lot to learn, coming from the IPL. It was my first year and I had a wonderful time playing with and against some of the best international cricket has to offer. Virat is a wonderful captain and a great leader. It’s very nice being around him, just watching him bat and hearing him talk about the game in itself is a wonderful learning curve for any young player,” Hetmyer said.

“I’m trying to put all those lessons into this tournament now. This is my lifelong dream, playing in the World Cup but I can’t let the occasion get to me. I ‘m in good spirits. I have a fantastic bunch of guys with me; the captain is always mentoring me, always talking to me about cricket. Right now, I’m in a good mental space and I try to stay as happy as I can, in whatever frame of mind. ”

Hetmyer looks up to Gayle as his idol and says that he has learned a lot from the veteran. The youngster also reckoned that Gayle should keep playing because he has still maintained top form with the bat.

“I’ve learned so much just being around Chris,” Hetmyer said. “I watched him when I was young, playing on TV and he was one of my idols and he’s still my idol right now. I just want to learn as much as possible from him as he comes to the end of his career, he is one of the greatest cricketers to play for the West Indies.

“He’s had a fantastic couple of months, even in the IPL, back home in the Caribbean for the England series. Right now, I think he is in the best form of his life. It’s sad to see him go, he will be dearly missed. He is someone you can always lean on in different situations and pick his brain. I think he is probably in the best form of his life, coming round to the end of his career. We wonder why he is actually retiring but it’s down to how he feels. I’d love him to continue, it would be fantastic for world cricket.”

“It’s more of a push for us to do well. Being called underdogs, more people look at you less than other teams. Hopefully, down towards the end, everyone would have seen what the West Indies can do to world cricket. We wanted to win the ODI series but it was a good series for us, playing against the No. 1 side,” he said.