Asks Sean Devers
Guyana achieved the ‘double’ last year when they beat the Windward Islands by six runs in the final round of the Regional 50-over U-19 tournament in St Kitts & Nevis after dethroning the Leeward Islands in the three-day format which began in 1976, to capture their 15th title.
The 50-overs tournament was inaugurated in 1998 in T&T as a replacement for the washed out three-day competition and this was Guyana’s fourth 50-overs title in a row since they dethroned 2013 champs, Windwards in 2014 at home when their 50-over Championship winning streak began under Skipper Brian Sattaur.
Sattaur became the first Guyana Captain to win both three-day and one-day titles in the same year and has been joined by Renaldo Ali-Mohammed as they both bettered Steven Jacobs, who led Guyana to the three-day title in 2007 in St. Kitts before losing to Jamaica in the 50-over final at Warner Park the same year.
This year the tournament is scheduled for Barbados in July and the team to defend Guyana ‘double’ crown has already been selected but not yet released by the GCB.
Nine players who played in last year’s Regional U-19 tournament are eligible for selection on this year’s team which will travel to Barbados but off-spinner Karan Arjpaul could be the only one with previous experience that could lose their places this year since Kevin Sinclair, who looked the best off-spinner in the inter-county and Dwain Dick are capable off-spinners who could be useful with bat and ball in both formats.
Windies Under -19 World Cup player, Bhaskar Yadram scored an unbeaten 301 against the National U-17s in the first round of the Hand-in-Hand three-day Inter-County game at Everest but only played one other game due to a foot injury to finish with 366 runs.
Despite the fact that the pugnacious Yadram needs to work on his fitness, he is the only one with First-Class experience in the team and should get the GCB’s nod as Captain.
Windies U-16 Skipper Sachin Singh, who scored 176 runs in the three-day format should open the batting with Alex Algoo, one of only three batsmen to score tons in the Inter-County series, while Berbice Wicketkeeper Junior Sinclair, who looked the best Keeper and also did well with the bat, should be the third opener on tour.
Windies U-19 Keeper/Batsman Joshua Persaud, who struggled in both departments in the Inter-County, could be picked because he played for the Windies and might be even given the role behind the stumps ahead of Sinclair due to his seniority.
Berbice Captain Kevin Sinclair had over 200 runs and 17 wickets in the Inter-County and looked the best off-spinner and is among those who picked themselves, as have Kelvon Anderson, arguable the most complete batter in the team with the best temperament which is ideally suited for the three-day format.
Anderson along with Yadram and Algoo were the centurions in the Inter-County Tournament and should be the glue that binds the Guyana innings together. He has the only five-wicket haul in the 50-over Inter-County Tournament.
National U-17 All-Rounder Dwayne Dick is capable of scoring runs in the middle, is a very good field and should be selected as the second off-spinner in the squad.
Windies U-19 World Cup left-arm spinner Ashmead Nedd was the leading wicket-taker in the Inter-County competition with 24 scalps and can also bat.
Fellow left-arm spinner Kelvin Umroa (21 wickets) bowls with a teasing ‘flight’ and good variety and should also be selected, especially for the three-day version.
Off-spinner Karan Arjpaul was in the squad last year but did not play a game in the three-day format and along with Algoo was replaced in the One-Day squad by Yadram and Persaud on their return from the West Indies youth tour of South Africa.
Multitalented Athlete Joshua Jones could be the only player from Essequibo in the squad. Jones, also a National Junior Javelin thrower, was the leading fast bowler in the U-19 Inter-County with 15 wickets and will spearhead the pace attack.
Jones should share the new ball with Windies under -16 speedster Qumar Torrington who both could generate good pace on the much quicker tracks than the low and turners they operated on during the Inter-County tournament. Anderson and Javid Karim’s medium pace could also prove useful in Barbados.
Probable squad: Alex Algoo, Sachin Singh, Junior Sinclair, Joshua Persaud, Bhaskar Yadram (Capt), Kevin Sinclair (vice-capt), Kevlon Anderson, Javid Karim, Junior Sinclair, Dwayne Dick, Ashmead Nedd, Kelvin Umroa, Qumar Torrington and Joshua Jones.
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