Andre Rusty Kirton now 31 years old, was born in a housing scheme community in Georgetown, Guyana. However, he grew up in New York City and now lives in the historic upstate community of Kingston, New York. He plays for Berbice Royals Cricket Club in the Garden State Cricket League. However, the first team he played for in New York was Suburbia Cricket Club in the Metropolitan Cricket League. Other major teams he has represented are USA Cricket Academy, New York Under-19, USA Under-19, and the New York Region senior men’s team which he had the honor of captaining. He is admired by many of his peers for his “Jonty Rhodes-like” agility as a fielder.
usacricketers.com caught up with the prolific all-rounder and posed the following questions to him.
What is your best cricket memory so far?
My greatest cricket memory is our Under-19 team winning our first-ever game at the Under-19 ICC Cricket World Cup in 2006. Nothing has been able to beat that feeling so far. That day I felt like an entire team of unknown men went into battle at the highest level of our age group and we came out victorious.
What do you remember about the first cricket match you attended and at which ground?
The first cricket match I can remember attending was a West Indies fixture (I can’t remember who they played) at Bourda cricket ground in Georgetown, Guyana. I could remember, I barely watched a ball in the game because I did not sit still, but I had a fantastic time. The life-changing moment for me was when my father took me into the dressing room to meet the players. Seeing all the players being celebrated and surrounded by fans and loved ones made me feel as though I would love to be treated that way. I wanted to be the person to whom some young kid could say, “You are my hero.” I never made it there, but I gave it a good try.
What is the funniest thing you have seen happen on a cricket field?
The funniest thing I’ve ever seen on a cricket field was when I played a match in New Jersey and on a field that was surrounded by thorny bushes. The ball was hit over the boundary and one of our fielders backpedaled until he disappeared into the bushes, and all we could hear him saying was, “Y’all stop laughing and help me out of here.”
Who are the people you’ve most enjoyed speaking to and learned the most from during your cricketing career, so far?
I’ve enjoyed watching Brian Lara, Andrew Symonds, and Ricky Ponting. Those are my top three. Whenever I’m feeling out of form or I just need some inspiration I watch old videos of them just to remind myself of the determination they have. Lara for his genius batting, Ponting for his fearlessness and will to win as captain and batsman, and finally my favorite of them all Symonds, for his heart and the way he is always looking to make something happen to give his team the best chance to win.
What milestones do you want to achieve before you stop playing cricket?
I have no goals set for the rest of my career. I just want to play good clean cricket and win. I enjoy winning more than anything on a cricket field.
Are you looking forward to playing cricket during 2020, if not what are your thoughts and should the season be canceled?
I am hoping we can all get past this pandemic safely and still be able to play a full season this year. I wish everyone a healthy cricket season.
Who are some of your favorite international players and who inspired you to start playing cricket?
I love all international cricketers because they had to be doing something right to be at that level, so I respect them for that, but some of my ultimate favorite players, in addition to those I mentioned earlier, are Sachin Tendulkar, Kumar Sangakkara, Mike Hussey, Carl Hooper, Darren Sammy, Hashim Amla, and Jonty Rhodes, just to name a few.
The players that inspired me to play cricket were all local cricketers who played where I was born and raised, because I wasn’t a big fan of watching cricket. I couldn’t sit still long enough to watch cricket. Growing up in a housing scheme yard playing and seeing all the older guys play and enjoy the game so much, I naturally took to the game and fell in love with it.
Which is your favorite international cricket team?
My favorite international cricket team is the Australian national team. The reason I love the Australian team is because of its passion, heart, and the way the players never give up, even when it seems as though they are down and out.