Says Captaincy is not affecting his batting
By Sean Devers
West Indies batsman Leon Rayon Johnson spent his first few years in Kamuni Creek, an Amerindian Reservation in the Aratack Mission before coming to the City to attend Nursery School and since then has had many accomplishments including an amazing run as Captain of the Guyana Jaguars team over the last four seasons.
On Saturday last Guyana joined Barbados (1977-1980) and Jamaica (2008-2012) as the only teams to win four consecutive First-Class titles in West Indies Cricket, while joined Jamaican Tamar Lambert as the only regional Skippers to lead their team to four titles in a row.
“It’s an awesome feeling for the guys and I, they have put in a lot of work before the season started and kept doing so throughout as well, so it great to be the best side in the region again,” he said after winning the 2017 title with two matches to play.
The GCC player is among the top batsmen this season with 396 including a career best 165 against the Red Force in Trinidad and two fifties and with four possible innings to bat could finish with over 600 runs
Johnson is regarded by many in the cricket fraternity as the best Captain in the Caribbean and many of them feel that once he can get a few more big scores he could be the ideal person to lead the struggling West Indies team.
Johnson’s name will be mentioned among the great Guyanese Captains like Clive Lloyd, Roger Harper and Carl Hooper who have two First-Class titles each.
Johnson explains the reason for him being the man in charge of a team that has won four First-Class titles in a row.
And given the fact that Johnson is only 30 and only Shiv Chanderpaul (43) and Devendra Bishoo (32) are older than him in this Jaguars squad which includes a pair of 19-year-olds in Kemo Paul and Sherfane Rutherford, it’s very likely that Johnson’s Jaguars could continue its dominance of Regional Cricket for a few more seasons to come.
“There are a lot of things that make good leaders, not just in cricket but generally. I’ll share my top four. The major one for me is experience, closely followed by a strong mind. Leaders always take the brunt of criticism so a strong mind is needed. Trusting my instincts has also played a major part in success on the field, sometimes I go against the team plans because that what my gut told me, it works and it doesn’t sometimes and the coaches know and understands that’s my modus operandi,” Johnson explained.
“Most importantly I always listen and take advice, no one knows everything, every time, you listen you might learn something new,” Johnson concluded.
In the 2008 Carib Beer Series Johnson was the tournament’s leading run scorer with 807 runs from 10 matches but when six short of his maiden ton he edged a wide ball from CCC’s off-spinner Shirley Clarke.
On his Test debut in St Lucia against Bangladesh he was given out LBW to Taijul Islam but on the advice of non-striker Kirk Edwards did to ask for the replay which confirmed that the ball would have missed the wicket. He made 41 in the second innings and in nine Tests has two fifties. In his last Test against Pakistan in November of 2016 he was asked to open the batting.
Johnson, who made 51 in the second of his six ODIs against Canada in Canada, has over 5,000 runs with 32 half-centuries and five centuries from 97 First-Class matches.
Johnson has captained his School (St Roses High), his Club, his County, Guyana U-19s, and was West Indies under-19 Captain for the 2006 U-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka before being appointed Guyana First-Class Skipper in 2013 against the Windwards in St Vincent and while he has been consistent he has an ordinary conversion rate.
Johnson has only managed to convert five of his 37 innings of 50 or more into hundreds at First-Class level but Johnson has a fantastic work ethic; he feels that Captaincy has not been the reason for him not scoring more hundreds.
“No it (Captaincy) isn’t affecting me, captaining teams is something I’ve done for a very long time and it’s never affected my batting,” Johnson declared.
Johnson is confident that the Jaguars who will face Barbados in Barbados from tomorrow is confident that his team will finish the season unbeaten.
“My biggest satisfaction thus far is determination and attitude of the players, they have always given 110%, the most disappointing thing would be the tie against the Windward Islands, we were in a position to win that game and made some mistakes which let them back in,” the Guyana Captain concluded.
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