As Guyana hope to break losing streak
By Sean Devers
With a record four consecutive defeats, the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) has taken the unprecedented decision to sack the coach in the middle of the WICB regional four-day cricket competition.
New coach Rabindranauth Seeram could be under plenty of pressure to deliver today as bottom of the table Guyana take on defending champions and tournament leaders Jamaica in the sixth round of the competition at the Guyana National Stadium at Providence.
Still without their three Test batsmen – Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shiv Chanderpaul and Sewnarine Chattergoon – all eyes will be on Seeram to see if he can change Guyana’s fortunes.
The Guyanese (also without leading spinner Veerasammy Permaul due to injury) will be at home for the first time this season and will hope that their three leading run scorers this season (Narsingh Deonarine, Royston Crandon and Travis Dowlin) along with West Indies ODI batsman Leon Johnson collectively contribute with the bat on what should be a placid track to prevent a fifth straight loss.
Even without their Test players (Chris Gayle, Jerome Taylor, Brandon Nash and Daren Powell) the Jamaicans, strengthened by the inclusion of Xavier Marshall and Gavin Wallace, will start as firm favorites today.
While Guyana occupy the cellar position with four points from four games, Jamaica are on 42 points from four games, three ahead of second placed Barbados.
Deonarine (266 runs, average 33.25), Royston Crandon (262, average 37.42) and Dowlin (258, average 32.25) are the only Guyanese with over 200 runs in the seven-team competition while Johnson (164, average 26.66) is the only other Guyana batsman to reach 150 runs this season.
Rookie opener Shemroy Barrington has looked good but has failed to build on good starts and along with Chris Barnwell will hope to give the South Americans a solid foundation for the middle order and Keeper Derwin Christian to build on.
If the batting has been a major disappointment this season, the inexperienced bowling attack has struggled for consistency although 21-year-old Brandon Bess has had good reviews for his genuine pace. Bess has bowled with plenty of fire and along with Esuan Crandon has bowled well with the new ball, while leg-spinner Davendra Bishoo has 17 wickets.
With Permaul unavailable and the batting being a problem, Steven Jacobs, who tied up one end with his steady off-spin in Nevis or Zaheer Mohamed could play today to strengthen the batting.
Deonarine has had some tough umpiring decisions go against him while Royston Crandon and Skipper Dowlin have both scored three fifties without converting into tons.Jamaica, who had their final practice session yesterday afternoon at the Stadium, will depend on the experienced Wavell Hinds, David Bernard and Donovan Pagon who have all passed 200 runs this season while Marshall will want to force his way back into the regional side with a big score in this game.
With Skipper Tamar Lambert yet to fire and Danza Hyatt and keeper Keith Hibbert in the side, the Jamaica batting is strong on paper.
Jamaica are expected to pin their hopes of taking wickets on their spin trio of leg-spinner Wallace (who has 17 scalps from three matches in his debut season), West Indies left-arm spinner Nikita Miller and wrist spinner Odean Browne who is their leading wicket taker with 20 victims.
The lively Jason Dawes, Andrew Richardson and Bernard should do the fast bowling duties for the visitors on what is anticipated to be a slow pitch.
The last time these two teams met at this level, Jamaica won by eight wickets last year at Sabina Park with Brandon Nash making 91 for the hosts and Johnson getting a second innings 73 for Guyana.
The new Guyana selection panel omitted Trevon Garraway, Assad Fudadin and Gajanand Singh from their 16-man squad for today’s match which starts at 10:00hrs
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