Georgetown—Despite going under to Jamaica by seven wickets in their first round match of this year’s West Indies Cricket Board Regional four-day championships at Sabina Park yesterday, the Rayon Griffith-led Senior Selection Committee of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) has kept faith with the 11 players who were fit to compete in that contest. However, the in-form batsmen in the recently concluded WICB NAGICO Super50 tournament, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan who were both injured and did not participate in the first round, will be out of the team for the second round contest, a day/night affair against Barbados at the Guyana National Stadium from Friday. Chanderpaul’s 17-year-old son Tagenarine Chanderpaul who made his debut last year against the Leeward Islands and has to date scored 176 runs at an average of 22.00 with a highest score of 42, and Chanderpaul Hemraj are their replacements.
The younger Chanderpaul recently returned from the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh with the young West Indies team who finished in sixth place and for whom he was the most consistent batsman with two half-centuries and one century. On the other hand, the 20-year-old Hemraj, who went under his first stint at the WICB’s High Performance Centre last year, has played three first class matches for Guyana since making his debut against Trinidad and Tobago two years ago, aggregating 57 runs at an average of 9.50 with a topscore of 29. He last played for Guyana in last year’s Regional four-day tournament against Jamaica at the venue for Friday’s encounter and judging from the present form displayed by the only fit 11 in Jamaica, can find himself along with the younger Chanderpaul in the lineup for Friday’s match. Tagenarinel will be thrust into the opening position alongside either Assad Fudadin or Sewnarine Chattergoon, while it is left to be seen if Hemraj will gain a place in the middle order, especially with the absence of both Sarwan and the elder Chanderpaul.
Meanwhile, appointed captain of the squad Leon Johnson, who picked up a knee injury prior to the team’s departure for Jamaica, yesterday told Chronicle Sport his rehabilitating work is coming along excellently, while he is eagerly anticipating his return to the fore. The 26-year-old Johnson said he had a bright smile on his face when the doctor told him no surgery would be required and will be returning for another assessment tomorrow. “I am much better now than when I picked up the injury and even though the doctor did not give me a time frame when I can return to playing the game, since it all depends on how quickly the injury heals, he made me smile when he said no surgery is required. “I was really disappointed when I picked up the injury as I was looking forward to leading my country in this tournament, either for the first or second round, but I will be back hungrily, especially after watching them catapult for 117 in the first innings,” said Johnson. The Georgetown Cricket Club left-hander, who was Guyana’s leading batsman in the said tournament last year, is of the view that the team should have scored more than the meagre total they got in the first innings, especially after their second innings display.
“Yes, we were missing two key players in Ronnie and Shiv, but at the same time that should not be an excuse since their absence paved the way for another player or two to step up and that is not what occurred in the first innings.” He added, “Despite such, kudos must be given to the bowlers who did well to restrict Jamaica to 294, with Permaul (Veerasammy) picking up a five-for, on such a track that was conducive for batting, while our batsmen, led by Vishal ‘Cheesy’ Singh, posted a much better total in the second innings. “I think that despite the loss of wickets when some batsmen were well set, they showed the kind of application that was lacking in the first innings and once they have the same attitude, they can trump the Barbadians in the second round from Friday.” Once again, Christopher Barnwell will lead the team in the absence of both Johnson and Shivnarine, with Permaul as his deputy, while Julian Moore has been added to the coaching team as the assistant to Esaun Crandon.
It will be the first day/night first class match at the venue and also the first of two for Guyana in this year’s tournament, while Barbados, who went under to the Windward Islands by nine wickets in the first round which was also a day/night affair, will be playing their second of four matches under lights. The team: Sewnarine Chattergoon, Assad Fudadin, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Narsingh Deonarine, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Anthony Bramble, Christopher Barnwell (captain), Amir Khan, Veerasammy Permaul (vice-captain), Devendra Bishoo, Ronsford Beaton, Keon Joseph and Vishal Singh. The manager is Alvin Johnson and the coach is Esaun Crandon, with Julian Moore as his assistant.