But wants set batsmen to score more hundreds
By Sean Devers
Guyana Jaguars had an auspicious start to their title defence when they whipped their nemesis Leewards Hurricanes by 10 wickets in a Day/Night match in the first round of Regional Four-Day Championships which was played with a pink ball and ended on Sunday Night at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.
The Jaguars on the back of half-centuries from Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Skipper Leon Johnson and Christopher Barnwell, made 388 in their first innings.
The host, forced to follow-on, fell for 154 and 254 as pacer Nial Smith captured eight wickets on his debut, including 6-65 from 16 overs in the first innings, while left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul took five wickets in the match.
Jaguars now face Barbados (who lost to the Windwards) in their next game set to start on Thursday at the Kensington Oval in Barbados.
Yesterday Jaguars Head Coach and former Guyana pacer, Esuan Crandon, informed the team wanted to start well by winning their first game and set high standards throughout the competition.
“We executed most of our batting, bowling and fielding plans. Most of the boxes were ticked. I am happy with the way we played during the match and I know this team is going to get better in all aspects of the game,” said Crandon, who took 90 wickets from 38 First-Class games.
But the 37-year-old Crandon said that while posting 388 in the first innings was
always a good score on that pitch, he felt the batsmen didn’t capitalize and failed to take full advantage of the batting friendly condition especially during the daylight hours.
“I’m disappointed that none of the top six batters converted their starts into a century. It is something we spoke of before the tournament and I’m sure the guys are disappointed as well.
Crandon, who delivered the first ball in the inaugural four-day Day/Night game with a pink ball when Guyana opposed T&T in Antigua in 2010, was high in praise for 24-year-old Smith.
“Smith bowled with good pace and control. I was very impressed with his work throughout the match. He brought that added pace to the fast bowling attack and is a natural wicket-taker.
He now has to continue working hard on his fitness and skills to be able to sustain more performances like he did in that match,” the Head Coach from Berbice said.
Crandon disclosed that the team plans for Barbados will not differ much from those in Antigua.
“Obviously, we have got to assess the conditions in Barbados and formulate our plans to suit the condition and opposition. We expect Barbados to play their strongest available players and we’re looking forward to a keenly contested game of cricket.”
Skipper Leon Johnson, searching for a record breaking sixth consecutive First-Class title, said it was very important to start with a win for the confidence of team.
“Leewards have proven a very difficult opposition over the last three seasons, so it was great to beat them at home,” said Johnson who needs another 223 runs to reach 6,000 First-Class runs.
Johnson’s 59 in this game, was his 38th fifty at this level from 110 matches but he has only managed to convert five of his 43 scores of over 50, into hundreds.
The 32-year-old left-hander, who has played nine Tests but none since October 2016, agreed with his Coach about the batsmen’s failure to convert good starts into centuries.
“It was pleasing that we achieved most of the targets that we set out with the exception of at least one century in the game, four batsmen got half centuries and two 40 odd scores, at least one of us should have converted to a 100,” said the Region’s most successful First-Class Captain.
The satisfied Jaguars Captain said the pitch was a pretty flat one and the bowlers did exceptionally well to bowl out the opposition twice for scores of under 300.
Keemo Paul is injured and Romario Shepherd has replaced him in the West Indies T20 team for the three-match series which starts on Wednesday in Grenada and along with Shimron Hetmyer and Sherfane Rutherford will be unavailable for Thursday’s game.
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