By Sean Devers
A 13-man squad has been named to represent the Guyana Jaguars against the Leeward Islands in the opening round of the inaugural West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Franchise four-day First Class cricket tournament which starts on Friday at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence.
The Jaguars will be led by Guyana’s newest Test player, Leon Johnson and includes six players who have played Test cricket in Johnson, Shiv Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Assad Fudadin, Veerasammy Permaul and Devendra Bishoo.
The 23-year-old Barbadian left-handed all-rounder Raymond Reifer is also in the Jaguars team. Reifer has scored six fifties and taken 31 wickets from his 23 First-Class matches since making his debut for CCC against the Windwards at the 3Ws Oval in 2011. Reifer is the only overseas player in the Guyana squad.
Chris Barnwell is the seventh Guyanese to have played senior cricket for the West Indies. The 27-year-old has played six T20 Internationals for the Regional team along with his 25 First-Class games for Guyana.
At 40, Chanderpaul, the most capped West Indian Test player with 156 Tests, is the oldest player in the Jaguars team but the veteran left-hander is as fit as any member of the team assembled.
Fudadin, who is expected to return from Sri Lanka tonight, is Johnson’s Vice-Captain while former Guyana pacer Esaun Crandon is the Head Coach. Former National fast bowler Rayon Griffith, who is Chairman of the National Selectors, has been appointed Assistant Coach.
Guyana failed to win any match in this year’s Regional First-Class season and last won a First-Class tournament in 1998 although they beat Jamaica on first innings points at Sabina Park in Jamaica to take the 2002 Busta Cup.
The full squad reads:
Leon Johnson (Captain), Assad Fudadin (Vice-Captain), Rajindra Chandrika, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Raymond Reifer, Anthony Bramble (wk), Christopher Barnwell, Veerasammy Permaul, Devendra Bishoo, Ronsford Beaton, Vishal Singh, Trevon Griffith.
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