Visitors aiming to escape cellar position
By Sean Devers in Trinidad
In association with Busta & Carib Beer
Never before this season has Guyana played five home matches and accumulated just 20 points in a single regional first-class season.
In the cellar position with 24 points with three matches to play, Guyana has no chance of winning the title and it was assumed that while no team plays to loose, the focus now would be on individual player development.
However, recent developments indicate that the Guyanese will be going all out for an outright win as they face host Trinidad and Tobago at the Queens Park Oval since Level 1 Coach Rabindranauth Seeram, who is also a selector, wants to be judged on results after replacing Albert Smith when the team returned home after four overseas games.
Preferred to Reon King (a former Test player and a higher qualified Coach) for the position, Seeram, an elegant former Guyana middle order batsman, seems without a plan and his negative tactics in the last game in Berbice when he opted to continue batting after lunch instead of trying to get first innings points contradicted his policy of desperately wanting to increase Guyana’s points standing.
When Seeram declared at Bourda with Gajanand Singh on 43 and Guyana having no chance of winning the seven-team tournament at that stage, it was explained that winning was more important than personal glory and Skipper Travis Dowlin, who obviously had to agree with Seeram when the batsmen were called in, must now also be judged by his captaincy record at the end of this season.
Guyana’s image is at stake here and the sacking of Singh, who is just 21 and averages 73 from his only two chances to bat this season, gives the impression that Seeram and Dowlin still feel winning supersedes the development of a core of young players to start the rebuilding process for next season.
If Guyana cannot finish the tournament ahead of CCC, who begin this round nine points ahead of them, the pressure will be on Seeram and Dowlin to justify their roles for next season.
Without Shiv Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan due to West Indies duties and the dumping of the experienced trio of Mahendra Nagamootoo, Neil McGarell and Reon King at the same time, it was expected that the inexperienced Guyana side would struggle.
But it was also expected that Seeram would have focused more on player development rather than winning and that Dowlin (who is a part of the management team) would have used his experience and talent to groom the young players in the manner that Floyd Reifer, the second highest run scorer in the tournament, is doing as CCC leader.
Instead, Seeram’s defensive tactics and his dropping of Singh and omission of the in-form Royston Crandon in Berbice have proved counter-productive to Guyana’s cause while Dowlin’s acceptance of the cricket politics which continue to fester to the detriment of Guyana’s cricket while not being able to convert any of his fifties into three figure scores is a concern.
Manager Carl Moore says the aim of his team is to not finish in the bottom half of the competition but the short term interest could be Narsingh Deonarine (the leading run scorer with 863 runs) trying to his West Indies place for the England tour next month and young Leon Johnson trying to get a century to justify the faith the regional selectors have shown by picking him with just three fifties last season.
Assad Fudadin and Royston Crandon are young and talented enough to vie for future West Indies selections and their good batting in the middle order this season emphasizes the insanity by the Coach and Skipper to sacrifice them as openers when they not surprisingly, failed. Dowlin has batted well but at 32, he needs to add to his four first-class tons.
Coach Smith was judged on results and with Guyana continuing to embarrass their countrymen who turn up to support them overseas, players like Derwin Christian and Esuan Crandon could be under pressure to prevent younger players from taking their places and will need to perform consistently here and in Jamaica where Guyana play their next match before returning home to play Barbados in their final game.
Chris Barnwell is a genuine talent with both bat and ball while leg-spinner Davendra Bishoo is also full of potential. They are among the young brigade expected to carry the Guyana fight in the next few seasons.
Left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul is also a good bowler but is struggling for consistency at a time when the standard of the regional first-class tournament is very low.
Sewnarine Chattergoon gets another chance to resurrect his Test career with three-figure score while the instance of the Guyana ‘think tank’ to use Steven Jacobs as the specialist off-spinner is baffling when Jacobs is a batsman who bowls and need to concentrate on scoring runs if he wants his fledging career to prosper.
Brandon Bess is genuinely quick, but not aided by a structured coaching program in Berbice, seems to be learning the art of fast bowling very slowly.
Back in the team after injury, Bishoo could again find himself doing a lot of work with the ball for Guyana who have lost five and not won any of their nine games this season.
Trinidad and Tobago have 51 points and can still win the title but will need to start with ‘full points’ in this game on a track which should offer some early help for the bowlers.
Even without recalled West Indies pacer Ravi Rampaul their bowling looks fairly good with off-spinner Amit Jaggernauth expected to do the bulk of the work.
Skipper Daren Ganga is an astute leader and even if his time as a Test player seems behind him, his captaincy plays a key role in a united young Trinidad team.
This is also a chance for the teenage pair of Adrian Barath and Daren Bravo to enhance their chances of a pick to England with more runs in a season in which they have both batted impressively while the fringe players will want to make the most of their opportunity due to the unavailability of Denesh Ramdin, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Bravo and Rampaul. Today’s game starts at 10:00hrs.
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