Oct 04, 2018 Sports
By Sean Devers in Trinidad
In Association with Vnet,
Regal & Noble House Seafoods
Without a Regional 50-over title in 13 years, Guyana Jaguars opens their Regional Super50 campaign tomorrow when they face the Trinidadians in Port-of-Spain after losing to the Windwards in the last semi-final in Antigua in January.
Jaguars Captain Leon Johnson, who turned 31 on August 8, is Guyana’s most successful First-Class Captain winning four consecutive titles but has never lifted a 50-overs trophy.
“Thinking back to all those years since we last won, we have gotten to the semi-finals and final on most occasions. But in those games I think we did not put enough runs on the board and even if we were chasing we did challenge the totals.
I think the batting got stage fright in those knock-out games and I think it’s something we have to put right. We have been discussing it and it’s something we have to fix if we reach the Knock-out stage again,” said Johnson who hopes to join Clive Lloyd and Roger Harper as the only Guyanese captains to win the double.
The Jaguars boast genuine all-rounders in Sherfane Rutherford, Chris Barnwell, Romario Shepherd, Raymon Reifer and Ricardo Adams and Johnson thinks the strength of the team is depth of its batting and our all-round ability.
“Most of our batsmen can bowl and most of our bowlers can bat so I think we have a lot of depth and that’s our strength,” stated Johnson.
Asked about the team’s preparations, Johnson said the players did not have a lot of time together as a team before they got here but added that he is satisfied with how things are going leading up to tomorrow’s game.
“We had two weeks of one-day cricket in Guyana and most of the guys came off the CPL as well and it is good that we had cricket going into this tournament, so yes I am happy with the preparations,” Johnson disclosed.
Touching on tomorrow’s game Johnson said that looking at the composition of the teams, he thinks Trinidad with a lot of international players in their side should be a tough game,
“With so many International players they always play well at home, they know the conditions and will get the crowd support. I think they will obviously be the toughest team in the competition, not only for us but all the teams.
But having said that we all know that cricket is played on the day and obviously we won’t be thinking they are going to roll over us or whatever. We are going to play hard cricket and the results will take care of itself,” added the GCC player.
Johnson has 13 fifties from 58 List A games but his 99 when he was run out against the Leewards in the last Regional Super50 in February is his highest score in this format.
The left-hander was close to his elegant best in the GCB 50 overs Franchise league scoring the most runs (336) with three fifties and a century from five matches.
Johnson plans to bat the same way he did in the Franchise league and informed that he had done a lot of work leading up to the league and disclosed that most of that work was on getting his mind in the right place.
“I plan to bat the same way and will play to the situation accordingly, if the situation calls for me to score at two runs per over I will score at two runs per over and if we need to score at nine run per over I will try my best to score at nine runs per over,” said Johnson, who played the first of his 99 First-Class games against the Leewards at Enmore in 2004 as a 16-year-old.
Johnson made his ODI debut against Bermuda 12 days after his 20th birthday and scored a fifty in his second match and played the last of his six ODIs on January 25, 2015 when he was run out for 18 in South Africa.
While his focus will be on winning Guyana’s eighth 50 overs title, he will know that an outstanding tournament could resurrect his International career.
When asked if somewhere in the back of his mind he is thinking of next year’s World Cup and a possible ODI recall he said has thought about it.
“Yeah I have thought about it but it’s neither here nor there. The results will take care of themselves as long as I go through the process and once I continue to play the way I have been playing recently the results will be there and then it’s up to the powers that be to make that decision. I am taking one step at a time. Win this tournament, make a lot of runs and who knows what will happen I just want to stay in the moment,” Johnson concluded.
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