By Sean Devers
The last time Guyana Jaguars lost a game in this tournament was in the last round of 2017 Edition when they were beaten by the Leewards Hurricanes at Providence 15 matches ago while in their last 44 matches, the four-time defending Champions have only lost twice, both times to the Hurricanes.
Today from 09:30hrs at Providence, these two teams will again be engaged in battle in the fifth round of CWI Regional First-Class tournament in which the host has won their last five games.
After winning the last game in the 2018 season, Jaguars have won all four of their matches in the 2019 edition to sit on 80.2 points, 36.6 points ahead of second placed Hurricanes.
Today on a track which again should be good for batting the Jaguars will be favoured to move closer to equalling Jamaica’s record of five consecutive titles which Jamaica achieved from 2008-2012.
With the elevation to Windies Assistant Coach, Esuan Crandon has been replaced by Dr Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who brings with him the experience of 164 Tests in which he scored 30 centuries.
Team Manager/ Head Coach Rayon Griffith informed that the only change in the Jaguars line-up was Test leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo replacing Shimron Hetmyer who has left for Windies duties against England in Barbados.
Griffith a former First-Class pacer, who played with Chanderpaul for Guyana, says that Chanderpaul’s appointment should be a positive for the batsmen.
“Shiv will bring a wealth of knowledge with him as assistant Coach and since he played for the Jaguars last year, his presence in the dressing room will be nothing new for the players who are accustomed to what he is like in the dressing room,” said Griffith.
While the Jaguars will be without Hetmyer, Vishaul Singh, Raymon Reifer and Chanderpaul Hemraj who are with the Windies president’s team engaged in two Two-day matches against England in Barbados, they still have plenty of the depth in their batting and potency in their bowling.
They will hope to get a solid foundation from Trevon Griffith who is prone to playing carless shots at times and 22-year-old Tagenarine Chanderpaul who has demonstrated great temperament and concentration who will hope to face less dot balls and rotate the strike more today.
The son of Shiv, Tagenarine has 300 runs with a century and a fifty from eight innings, while Skipper Leon Johnson, with just a single fifty, will know that he has to contribute with the bat although he is the best Captain in the Region.
Keeper Anthony Bramble is enjoying a dream season so far with 337 runs from just four innings including consecutive tons in addition to effecting the most dismissals (18) from his four games.
Fast bowling all-rounders Romario Shepherd, Clinton Pestano and Kemo Paul have contributed with the bat as has batting all-rounder Sherfane Rutherford and left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul.
The inclusion of Bishoo strengthens an already strong batting line-up which has made three 300 plus totals (548 v B’dos, 454-9 dec v Windwards at Providence and 310-4 dec v Windwards in St Lucia). Bramble (2), Chanderpaul and Hemraj have scored tons while Reifer fell 10 short.
Permaul (23) is the leading wicket taker in the tournament while Paul had a 10-wicket haul in his only game, shepherd has 14 and Pestano 10.
Hurricanes Manager/Assistant Coach Winston Cornwall said his team made 425 against the Red Force in Trinidad but with the loss of Jamal Hamilton and Devon Thomas due to Windies A team duties, the batting is a bit weak for this encounter, while the selection of Alzarri Joseph-their quickest bowler-for the Test series leaves most of the bowling on the shoulders of the burly Rakeem Cornwall, wildly regarded as the best off-spinner in the Region.
“While we are not at full strength in this match it provides the young players the chance to grabs the opportunities and show they can contribute at this level,” Cornwall said.
Without Hamilton and Thomas and their Test Batsman Guyanese Rajendra Chandrika, who has just managed 16 runs from three innings at an average of 8, before being dropped, the Hurricanes’ batting will hinge on their out-of-form Skipper Kieran Powell, Montcin Hodge, Kacey Carty, Akeem Saunders, Orlando Peters and Cornwall.
Cornwall (12 wickets) will have to do the bulk of the bowling for the Islanders and without Joseph and Jamaican Sheldon Cotterell, he will hope for support from Sheno Berridge, Jeremiah Louis and Damian Jacobs.
Rass Powell and Wicket-Keeper Jaison Peters have been brought into the side. Peters who was born in Mahaicony, the largest Village on Guyana’s Coast, is mourning the death of his mother who will be buried on Sunday in Mahaicony.
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