Matthew Forde was 20 years old when he first appeared for a CPL franchise. Having had success in age group cricket he was someone who was of interest to CPL teams, but it was a conversation with Pedro Collins that started his CPL career. Forde had been coached by Collins for a while. They lived very close to each other, and Collins would regularly give Forde a lift to and from training.
On one of those journeys the conversation turned to CPL cricket. Forde told Collins that he did not currently have a team. Collins is part of the Saint Lucia Kings set up and he called Daren Sammy, the Kings head coach, while Forde was in the car. Forde was encouraged to send videos of him in action to Sammy and by the time he was dropped off Sammy had called back to say, “I want this youngster.”
That conversation led to Forde making his CPL debut during the 2022 season, and while he didn’t bowl in his first match, he was entrusted with the new ball for his home debut against Guyana Amazon Warriors. Forde says his response to being asked if he wanted this responsibility so early in his career was to tell Sammy, “You asking a dog if he want a bone”.
Forde was determined to make the most of that opportunity. While sat on a drinks cooler waiting for his home debut he made it clear to his team mate, Rivaldo Clarke, that he was not going to miss his chance. He said: “Rivaldo boy, I don’t know about you, but I know when I get my chance and I come off of this cooler, I’m not coming back on this cooler.”
Forde has not had to sit on the side lines since, with the latest milestone being his call up for the West Indies ODI team who are taking on England in December. His coach for that series will be Daren Sammy, and Forde has said that his relationship with the Kings and West Indies head coach has been foundational to his career.
“I think he has been, if not the backbone, he has been the main guy for me in terms of giving me that opportunity and trusting me, believing in me. I started opening with the new ball for the Kings and he trusted me. I just kept performing until he built that trust in me,” Forde said.
For Forde, the CPL has been the building block for his career progression since making that breakthrough in 2022. “I think CPL was the foundation. CPL really started it all because without CPL then the rest of the world wouldn’t see me. CPL was my first major tournament. So, for me that’s like CPL was the foundation. And I will always say the Kings will always be at my heart.”
Going forward, Forde wants to develop all elements of his game. He has two half centuries in topflight cricket, one as an overseas player at the Lanka Premier League and another in the recently concluded Super 50 tournament where he presented the West Indies academy side. He says developing his batting and becoming a true all-rounder is where he wants his game end up.
“My goal is to be to be the number one all-rounder in the world and to put West Indies cricket back to where it needs to be at the top. So, for me and a couple of the younger guys like me, we work really hard in in terms of fitness, the mental side of the game, theory, whatever it be. We are always working because we know what we want to achieve, and we know the goals that we have set and planned out as a collective group. (CPL)