Commitment key criterion in team selection-Griffith
By Sean Devers
At age 57, former National youth and senior team Coach Albert Smith returns to the national
cricket set up as a part of the technical team attached to the Guyana Jaguars, who are intensifying preparations for the inaugural West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Professional Cricket League Regional Four-Day Franchise Tournament which starts on November 14.
Smith helped Guyana win its last regional First-class tournament when they won the 2002 Busta Shield; getting first innings points from Jamaica in final in Jamaica. Smith was also the Coach when the team won the regional one-day championship in 2003 and 2005 after losing to Trinidad and Tobago in the 2004 final. Guyana, with Smith as coach, won the inaugural Stanford Regional T/20 title in 2006.
Now, five years after he was replaced as Head Coach in the middle of 2009 season by former National batsman Rabindranauth Seeram, the Berbician is back to lend his experience to a team that has struggled at the regional level in recent times.
Smith returned to National cricket as Berbice Manager last year. He feels for the past two years at the Inter-County level the general attitude of the players has not been as good as it should have been.
“Since the Inter-County tournament I have noticed a complete turnaround in the work ethic of the players, who are now being paid to play not only for the matches they play in the regional
tournaments but most of them can now earn a monthly salary,” Smith informed.
“I think the franchise system is a good thing since if you are being paid you will be expected to be more professional in your entire attitude towards cricket,” Smith, who was the National under-19 Coach from 1999 to 2002, opined.
He said from what he is seeing now and the teams in the past, the big difference is the spinners. “In the past we had attacking spinners like (Mahendra) Nagamootoo and (Neil) McGarell and before that (Clyde) Butts and (Roger) Harper. I believe the spinners today are more defensive due to the large number of limited overs cricket played now” said Smith, who took over from Mark Harper as Coach in 2001.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the national Selectors former Guyana fast bowler Rayon Griffith explained all 25 players in the Cricket Guyana Inc (CGI) Franchise draft in addition to the National under-19 pair of Kemo Paul and Shemron Hetmyer were eligible for selection.
The 35-year-old Griffith took 56 wickets including a best of 6-44 from his 22 First-Class matches and informed that the team will be selected after two four-day practice games.
Griffith explained that among the key criterion for selection is commitment. “Commitment is the most important thing we are looking for. Commitment brings all the other things…. discipline, passion and the right temperament. We (selectors) are also looking at attitude, fitness and of course performance,” Griffith added.
The squad was joined by West Indies Test batsman Leon Johnson for yesterday’s first ‘nets’ session at Bourda. The squad had a two-day training session on Tuesday and Wednesday. Canada based Guyanese fast bowler Jeremy Gordon practiced with the team yesterday and produced lively pace from a slow track which had plenty of preparation moisture.
The squad will have their first practice game from Monday to Thursday at Bourda and all of the players except Barbadian Raymond Reifer (Guyana’s only overseas player who is expected here by Oct 30), Assad Fudadin, Ronsford Beaton (unavailable due to West Indies ‘A’ team commitments in Sri Lanka), Davendra Bishoo (travelling from Sri Lanka) and Zaheer Mohamed (who was absent from all the sessions) should play.
Guyana Jaguars face the Leewards Islands at Providence in their opening game from November 14- 17 before playing the Windwards Islands at Providence from November 21-24.
The Guyanese will then have their third home game at Providence when clash with Barbados from November 28–December 1. Guyana’s first ‘away’ match will be from December 5–8 when they face Trinidad & Tobago at the Queens Park Oval
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