Mar 13, 2009 Sports
As Guyana face-off with Leewards today at Albion
By Sean Devers
His surprise declaration with Gajanand Singh seven away from his maiden First-Class fifty in the last match showed that while new Coach Rabindranauth Seeram is mindful of player development he wants to be judged by outright results.
Still without a win in four matches as Coach, Seeram’s charges should be going for a win against the Leeward Islands in their 10th round WICB regional four-day cricket match from today at Albion in Berbice and fans should expect positive cricket from the Guyanese.
On a pitch expected to be flat, the Guyana batsmen should be looking for a big total to allow their bowlers to dismiss the Islanders twice with attacking bowling and aggressive field settings.
While Guyana are on 20 points from eight matches, the visitors have 43 points from seven games including an outright win against defending champions Jamaica in their last game and Coach Seeram’s desire for outright wins at a stage in the tournament when Guyana can no longer win the title should make for enterprising cricket.
If Guyana are going for a win then it is expected that an extra bowler will be selected instead of the nine batsmen who played at Bourda in the last game.
With leading bowler Davendra Bishoo still unfit, pacer Trevon Garraway could be included but playing him along with Brandon Bess and Chris Barnwell could prove futile on the placid Albion track.
With Royston Crandon coming back to strengthen the middle order, the problem will be which batsman to drop to accommodate an extra bowler.
If the focus was on player development then the genuinely quick but wayward Bess, who has already caught the eyes of the regional selectors, would play but with winning being the major consideration, Garraway (arguably the country’s best pacer) and Barnwell should share the new ball with Bess losing his place.
Without Bishoo, Steven Jacobs, who has been asked to perform the role of specialist off-spinner to support left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul, will have to be retained.
Barnwell, Garraway, Permaul and Jacobs should get spin support from batsmen Narsingh Deonarine and Crandon and the Guyanese could have their work cut out to dismiss the opposition twice.
It is widely regarded that batsmen draw matches and bowlers win them. With Guyana seeking maximum points in Berbice to improve their position, Gajanand Singh could be the unfortunate batsman to be omitted today since Barnwell, Sewnarine Chattergoon, Deonarine, Skipper Travis Dowlin, Leon Johnson, Crandon, Assad Fudadin and Derwin Christian will all have to play along with Jacobs who has to bowl.
Singh could feel very unlucky if he is left out but the decision to rob him of a fifty in an effort to win means that winning is now most important. His roller-coaster three-match career could again be put on hold today although many consider him one of the most talented young batsmen in the region.
Deonarine is the competition’s leading run scorer with 769 runs at an average of 59.15 and will want to continue his good form to guarantee his return to International cricket.
Dowlin has scored six half-centuries in 491 runs but needs to get a three-figure score in his 12th season at this level while Assad Fudadin will need to bat with a bit more urgency than he did in his 93 at Bourda if Guyana is to press for a win.
Crandon has four fifties this season and along with the inconsistent Christian who has a century, a fifty and six ducks, will also need to contribute with the bat.
With Jacobs, who also has to step up with the bat, coming in at number nine, the batting runs deep.
Wilden Cornwall, Omari Banks, Runako Morton and Steve Liburd have all scored centuries this season and the Leewards, with the likes of Munchin Hodge, Tonito Willette, Devon Thomas and Austin Richards in their team, have a strong batting line-up on paper.
Gavin Tonge and Cornwall could share the new ball with support from Justin Anthanaze, Willette and Banks.
After the declaration in the last match and still winless this season, Seeram’s work as Coach and Dowlin’s leadership could be under the microscope and the fans, especially those from the Canje area which produced Singh, will expect nothing less than positive cricket and ‘full points’ from Guyana in this game.
Anything less will not justify the decision by the Guyana management team in the last match not to sacrifice 10 more minutes of batting; leaving Singh stranded on 43 in order to hunt an ‘academic victory’ which never materialized.
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