Jan 22, 2016 Sports
By Sean Devers
After a highly successful 2015 for Guyana’s cricket the Guyana Jaguars started badly this
year even before a ball was bowled with some questionable selections. It was no surprise to many that the Leon Johnson led unit failed to reach the final of the NAGICO Super50 tournament which was divided into two Zones, played in St Kitts and Trinidad.
The non-selection of Jonathon Foo, who has matured both as an individual and batsman should be a cause for concern. He ended the Local Professional League 50-overs tournament with the most runs including a century. This tournament was also used to select Super50 team.
Foo’s positive approach could have helped the Jaguars’ scoring rate and although Assad Fudadin scored the most runs in the tournament (259) supported by Chanderpaul’s 150 and Vishal Singh’s 146, they all used up too many overs to score those runs, putting tremendous pressure on the others to come in with a few overs left in the innings.
Fudadin’s role was to bat through the innings and eventually get a big score and the left-hander played that role perfectly. He had scores of 44 not out,71 from 99 balls, 27 and an unbeaten 103 when he became the only batsman in the competition to ‘carry his bat’ with a well constructed innings decorated with eight fours and four sixes from 136 balls, accelerating towards the end.
Chanderpaul scored two half-centuries but gone are the days when would bat through the innings and convert a good start into a three-figure score. He, like Singh, wasted too many ‘dot balls’ without going on and it was amazing to see Singh and Fudadin opening the batting and Chanderpaul coming at number three, since they all struggle to get the ball away before they settled in and seemed incapable of taking advantage of the ‘Power play’ overs.
Johnson reached fifty once but must start converting ‘good starts’ into big scores if he wants to
regain his West Indies place. Anthony Bramble looked good against the Red Force in the semi-final when he joined Royston Crandon as the only Guyanese apart from Fudadin and Chanderpaul to reach 50.
Chris Barnwell and Steven Jacobs came to the crease with the added pressure of having to score quickly due to the pedestrian pace batting of Singh, Fudadin and Chanderpaul who should all never play in a 50-over game together.
Essequibian opener Kevin Boodie is an attacking right-hander yet he was dropped after just one match while Chanderpaul, who missed two games in St Kitts, continues to keep out a younger player.
While the Coach and Chief Selector may attempt to defend their decisions, it must be noted that in a ‘real professional system’ the coach is judged on results and ‘heads would roll,’ which, unfortunately is not the case in the Guyana.
When teams win, the GCB take the glory but when they don’t do well, the coach and his assistant, who is also the Chairman of Selectors and the Manager are not held accountable.
Chanderpaul is not needed in a Guyana one-day team at this point of his career but he could still play a role at the First-Class level to help develop the young batsmen in a format he is better suited for.
The Jaguars have five more matches to play in the four-day tournament which will resume around the same time the Masters T20 is slated for in Dubai. I would not be surprised if Chanderpaul abandons the Jaguars for the Dubai tournament. This would be a slap in the face of the Guyana Cricket Board and the Chairman of selectors.
Veerasammy Permaul was again Guyana’s leading wicket-taker while Jacobs and Paul Wintz had
10 each but were both injured at important times when they were bowling well. Despite reaching the semis and having one of only three centurions in the tournament (Andrew McCarty and Evin Lewis are the others) the Jaguars’ top order lacked positivity as their totals of 219-9, 209-9, 173-4, 153-4 and 122-4 suggests.
And even when they made their highest total (255-5) to beat CCC, they would have lost that game against a more experienced team since the Jaguars won with only three balls remaining in the contest.
The pitches in both St Kitts and Trinidad were not ideal for 50-over cricket where totals in excess of 300 are now the norm. Also, the general batting was way below acceptable standards with most batsmen throwing their wickets away once a few maiden overs were bowled.
The Media coverage from St Kitts was almost as poor as the cricket and the crowd with no TV coverage at all and radio commentary only for the games at Warner Park, the International venue.
If the tournament was played in Guyana, Providence and Albion could have been used since both venues have lights to facilitate day/night games and the matches at Albion would have attracted a large turn-out, unlike St Paul’s in rural St Kitts.
West Indies Cricket seems to be in terminal decline and the empty stands beamed to viewers around the world by the ESPN Cameras from the Queen’s Park Oval was little advertisement for Caribbean’s Cricket and I am beginning to agree with some of my colleagues who feel that cricket in this part of the world will die a natural death. I hope they are not right.
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