Ferguslie New Boy Riyaad Henry – Looking To Start Where His Famous Father Left Off
With Riyaad Henry set to arrive in Scotland shortly to hook up with Ferguslie, CricIndex caught up with the impressive young man who undoubtedly has cricket in is DNA.
Riyaad Henry’s father Omar was a genuine trailblazer in cricket who always cared more about the trail than the blazer.
Back in the 1980s, he performed with distinction at such places as Poloc and Stenhousemuir and was an instrumental figure in Scotland’s meetings with the English counties, including their 1989 win over Northants.
He subsequently made history in the 1990s when he became the first non-white player to gain Test selection for South Africa in the post-apartheid era. So, as you can imagine, Omar was a determined character, competitive, committed and searingly honest.
And his son, Riyaad, who also possesses rich cricketing talent, and has signed for Ferguslie this year, is cut from the same cloth. At 24, he wants to create his own headlines and, after speaking to him this week, it’s clear he isn’t interested in travelling to Scotland just to enjoy the scenery.
Instead, he’s a softly-spoken lad with an obvious stack of ambition in his DNA. He told CricIndex: “As long as I can remember, I’ve had a bat and ball in my hands, and I have been fortunate to enjoy cricket all over the world. Since I got involved in the game, I’ve played in the UK, the UAE, in Zimbabwe, and Australia and South Africa.
“I love it and I can’t speak highly enough about the influence of my dad. He has always been my hero, more because of the person he is and the way he lives his life.
“He has inspired many people thus far and he continues to do so every day of his life. He loves cricket and spreading the gospel and his enthusiasm rubs off on so many other people. When he wakes up in the morning, he wants to play cricket and get youngsters involved, and I was one of the people who benefited from his attitude.”
[ Video: Riyaad’s father is Proteas legend Omar Henry, who discusses his careers in Scotland and South Africa with QTV last year ]
Riyaad is a talented batsman and has demonstrated his qualities wherever he has gone. Omar developed into an integral part of the Scotland line-up 30 years ago and it doesn’t seem overly fanciful to suggest his son will do likewise when he turns up at Ferguslie.
As he said: “Over the last two years, I’ve really tried to enjoy my experience as a cricketer as much as possible and meeting new people has been amazing. Travelling has been a blessing too and it does help you mature as a player when you are performing in different kinds of conditions.
“I’m really excited to be joining the club and meeting everyone, and looking forward to a successful season with the club, because I know they have made lots of progress in the last few seasons.
“I’m really excited to be coming “home” and I would love to play for Scotland in the future. I will do whatever I have to do to succeed up there. Singing the national anthem live has been a dream and I want to make it a reality.”
He pointed out that he wasn’t getting ahead of himself. As he insisted, he has to score the big runs which will get him noticed. But there was an edge to his words which suggested that, in Riyaad Henry’s case, the acorn hasn’t fallen far from the oak.