Focus could be on individual
development for locals
By Sean Devers
With four defeats and two draws, Guyana, with just 10 points from six matches at the half-way stage of the WICB regional four-day cricket tournament, can no longer win this year’s title.
The focus for the bottom-of-the-table Travis Dowlin-led Guyana side is now on individual development as they begin the second phase of the ‘double round’ first-class competition from 10:00hrs today against the Windward Islands at the Guyana National Stadium.
Guyana will also want to avenge their innings and 147-run defeat against the Islanders in the first round in Grenada and should also use this opportunity for players like Narsingh Deonarine (one of only two batsmen with 500 runs in the competition) to stake a claim for a West Indies re-call this season.
One of three teams to be dismissed for less than 100 runs this season, Guyana returned to familiar home conditions and posted their first totals over 300 against Jamaica and scored 402 in the next game against Trinidad and Tobago.
With the talented but inconsistent Derwin Christian and Deonarine scoring tons on home soil, Guyana should relish the placid Providence pitch and fast outfield.
Still without Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan, Guyana will be strengthened by the inclusion Sewnarine Chattergoon and left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul who were unavailable due to injury.
The pair replaced Assad Fudadin and Brandon Bess in the Guyana squad.
Chris Barnwell and Chattergoon will hope to give Guyana a solid foundation for Deonarine (509 runs), Dowlin (333), Royston Crandon (367), Leon Johnson (264) and Christian (273) to build on. Johnson in particular will need to stamp his authority at this level if he wants to get back into the West Indies team.
Leg-spinner Davendra Bishoo has shown the ability to develop into a genuine all-rounder and his 108-run stand with Deonarine in the last game was the highest for the 9th wicket by a Guyanese pair since 1938 when Berkley Gaskin and Cyril Browne added 86 against Trinidad at Bourda.
Trevon Garraway will share the new ball with Esuan Crandon while Barnwell will lend medium pace support. Bishoo, Guyana’s leading wicket-taker with 22 scalps and Permaul could do the bulk of the bowling with spin support from Deonarine, Johnson and Royston Crandon.
Every team Guyana have played this season has declared with 300 plus totals and the Windwards, without Test opener Devon Smith will hope for another innocuous bowling performance by the Guyanese in this match to stay in the race for their first ever regional first-class title.
The Islanders have blown hot and cold this season with three wins and three loses from six games, but with 36 points and in fourth position, they still have a realistic chance of championship honours.
Rawle Lewis’ 299 runs are the most by a Windwards batsman this season as inconsistent batting has again let his team down. Only Smith, who scored 212 of his 289 runs from five innings in the opening round against Guyana, has scored a century.
A lot will depend on senior players Andre Fletcher (230), Lewis (299), Darren Sammy (212) and Shane Shillingford (162) to get big scores although Keddy Lesopris, who scored a fifty on debut in the last game, and Johnson Charles are talented openers.
Traditionally the Windwards’ bowling has been their strength and this is again the case, with experienced left-arm pacer Deighton Butler (one of only three players over age 26 in the squad), Nelon Pascal, Mervin Matthew and Sammy providing a competent seam attack.
Off-spinner Shane Shillingford (27 wickets) is the Windwards’ leading wicket taker and along with Lewis and Camilus Alexander should do the bulk of the spinning.
Both teams had their final practice session yesterday and a high scoring match is anticipated if the batsmen play to their full potential.
The Umpires for today’s game are Guyana Colin Alfred and Terrence Birbal of Trinidad and Tobago and admission is G$500 for anywhere in the Stadium.
Teams: (Windward Islands) Rawle Lewis (Captain), Johnson Charles, Keddy Lesporis, Andre Fletcher, Kevin James, Darren Sammy, Donwell Hector, Shane Shillingford, Deighton Butler, Camilus Alexander, Neon Pascal, Mervin Matthew, Alston Bobb
(Guyana) Travis Dowlin (Captain), Sewnarine Chattergoon, Chris Barnwell, Leon Johnson, Narsingh Deonarine, Veerasammy Permaul, Steven Jacobs, Derwin Christian, Esuan Crandon, Davendra Bishoo, Trevon Garraway, Gajanand Singh, Steven Jacobs.
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