Guyana hopes to avoid equaling unwanted record in Nevis
After losing three consecutive ‘away’ games in 2004 & 2008
By Sean Devers
Guyana prepare to oppose the Leeward Islands in their third match of the 2009 West Indies Cricket Board regional four-day first-class tournament in Nevis from Friday and with crushing defeats in their first two games, they are hoping to avoid the embarrassment of equaling their unwanted record of losing their first three games outright ‘away’ from home.In 2004 Guyana, under the captaincy of Neil McGarrell, lost outright to Barbados, Jamaica and the Windward Islands before losing first innings points as they salvaged a draw against the Leeward Islands at Enmore in their fourth round game and first on home soil for the season.
Last year, with Ramnaresh Sarwan at the helm, Guyana were beaten outright by Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Jamaica before taking first innings points in a drawn encounter against the Combined Colleges and Campuses (CCC) at the Guyana National Stadium at Providence.
This year, the Travis Dowlin led-unit, again without match practice before their first match due to the seasonal rain in Guyana, left Guyana confident of at least retuning home for their third round bye with some points, since unlike the two previous occasion when they lost their first three overseas games on the trot, they were coming up against the two weakest teams in the seven team-competition.
That they were hammered by an innings and 147 runs by the Windward Islands inside three days in their opening game in Grenada and by 96 runs in Barbados by CCC, is now history and the team, coached by Albert Smith, will be desperate to avoid defeat in Nevis.
When Guyana last played in Nevis in 2005, a second innings unbeaten century from Sewnarine Chattergoon, who batted at number seven with a runner, saved Guyana from defeat after they were asked to follow-on after Stuart Williams had plundered the Guyana bowlers for a century on home soil.
Four years later the Guyanese return to Grove Park in Charlestown, Nevis with one of their most inexperienced sides in recent times and with Skipper Runako Morton, who continues to score heavily at this level, and Omari Banks both eying West Indies re-calls, the South Americans face a tough assignment in the tiny Leeward Island.
Without Test batsmen Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Sewnarine Chattergoon along with Guyana’s newest West Indies senior player Leon Johnson, the batting is suspect even with the experienced Dowlin and the highly talented and seemingly rejuvenated Narsingh Deonarine in the line-up.
Coach Smith has lamented the lack of a solid opening partnership so far this season and a lot will depend on the foundation set by the openers, especially with Chattergoon unavailable.
At the start of the season it was stated by the coach, the Skipper and Manager Carl Moore that Guyana’s strength was the batting. Despite the inexperienced bowling attacking conceding a double century to Devon Smith in the first round and a ton to Nekoli Parris in the second, it was the batting that badly let the team down.
Guyana’s will also be without their quickest bowler for their next game since 21-year-old Brandon Bess has been picked to play for the West Indies ‘A’ team against England in St Kitts and will miss the game in Nevis.
Trevon Garraway comes back to share the new ball with Esuan Crandon, the only bowler in the side with relative experience at this level and how much spinners Veerasammy Permaul and Davendra Bishoo have improved, especially in the areas of mental fitness and consistency, could decide if Guyana moves on to Barbados for their fourth round game with any points.