Locals begin road to ‘double crown’
By Sean Devers
In 1998, the inaugural Regional 50-over under-19 cricket tournament was held as a replacement for the three-day competition which was rained out in Trinidad and Leewards U-19 Coach Chaka Hodge and Guyanese Ramnaresh Sarwan, who has gone on to play 181 ODIs for the West Indies, played in that competition.
Today in Guyana, the 15th Regional U-19 Limited overs tournament starts with three matches as this Country hosts the event for the fifth time, although the 2006 tournament was washed out.
At Enmore on the East Coast of Demerara, Guyana and Leewards, both without a 50-over title, collide while the ICC Americas face five times past champions Trinidad & Tobago at the DCC ground in Queenstown.
Defending Champions Jamaica have won six times including back-to-back titles in 2012 & 2013, they take on Barbados, with three titles, at Bourda in the other first round fixture set for today.
If the weather is good the pitch at Enmore should be ideal for batting, while the outfield could be conducive for free scoring. West Indies under-19 left-hander Shemron Hetmyer, who scored 116 in his debut season at this level against the Windwards in 2012 and 92 against T&T last year, will spearhead the Guyana batting today.
Guyanese Narsingh Deonarine scored the first ever 50-over ton against the Windwards in the 1999 tournament but apart from Hetmyer nobody else in this Guyana team has a century to their name. But that could change if Brian Sattuar, who opened with Tagenarine Chanderpaul last year and whose style is well suited for the shorter version of the game, gets going.
Chanderpaul, who has one 50-over fifty along with Askay Homraj, have scored three-day centuries and could be important key cogs in the wheels of the Guyana batting machine. At 16, Kemo Paul has already established himself as a genuine all-rounder while Balchand Baldeo, wicketkeeper Kemol Savory and off-spinner Daimon Waldron could all produce with the bat for the home team, hunting the ‘double’ after capturing the three-day title last Friday.
Guyana’s bowling will be spearhead by Paul who could share the new ball with pacer Daniel Basdeo or off-spinner Baldeo. But like in the three-day version, spin could provide the bulk of the overs for Guyana on pitches which should favor the slower bowlers. Leg-spinner Steven Sankar and off-spinner Sharaz Ramcharran would also be relied on with the ball for the South Americans.
The Leewards are naturally aggressive batsmen and Ross Powell, the cousin of Test batsman Kieron Powell and Kacey Carty who both scored centuries in the three-day format, should lead the Islanders batting.
Opener Saeed Williams, the son of Ex-Test opener and West Indies Assistant Coach Stuart Williams, Ashram Hodge, Mohit Hingorani, Skipper Jeremiah Louis, Shaquille Martina, whose mother is Guyanese and Wicketkeeper Jaeel Clarke could all produce runs for the Leewards.
The new ball could be used by Louis and West Indies under-19 fast bowler Antigua’s Alzarri Joseph, while support is expected from Martina, Hodge, Therone Bussue and Colin Archibald.
Matches in the Limited overs format will be played at seven venues including Albion in Berbice, Wales on the West Bank of Demerara, Enmore on the East Coast of Demerara, the National Stadium on the East Bank of Demerara and three grounds in the City. Matches are scheduled to commence at 09:30hrs and admission is free.
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