Jaguars Franchise League serving intended purpose- TDO
By Avenash Ramzan
Territorial Development Officer (TDO) of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB), Colin Stuart, believes the Jaguars Franchise League Three-day competition is serving its intended purpose with the selectors being able to witness a large pool of players in action from which to choose the national team.
In an exclusive interview with News Room Sport on Thursday, Stuart, the former Guyana and West Indies fast bowler, spoke of the gains made thus far.
Five of the scheduled seven rounds have been completed, and according to Stuart, the three-day competition, hosted for the first time with so many teams, has been beneficial to both the players and the GCB.
The Jaguars Franchise League Three-day concept, featuring eight teams, has replaced the traditional three-team Inter-county competition.
It has afforded more players the opportunity to showcase their skills at the national level, many of whom may not have been able to break into their respective county teams.
“We’ve been able to see a wider pool of players and in various areas- the batting department, fast bowling and spin bowling we’ve seen people coming through. Even in wicketkeeping the guys are putting up a good competition there. I think most of the keepers realise now that in order to make the Guyana team, they’ll need to do something with the bat. So it’s good to see the level of competition,” Stuart explained.
From viewing the games first-hand, Stuart has observed a concerted effort by batsmen to spend more time at the crease and graft for their runs.
This is no surprise, as the ploy to ensure batsmen occupy the crease for long periods has been deliberate. According to the playing conditions, 100 overs have to be bowled on each day, an increase from the regular 90 that players are accustomed to.
In essence, three days and session of cricket have been crammed into three days.
“I think a number of the batsmen were accustomed to playing the 50 and 20 overs so they’re now realising how to go about building an innings over a longer period of time, and I think that’s a plus from this tournament. I think we’re going to see the benefits when the national team plays the next PCL [Professional Cricket League] regional tournament,” Stuart indicated.
One of the questions many pundits have asked is what process will be used to select the national team- the Guyana Jaguars- to defend the PCL Four-day title next season. Stuart explained what formula will be used to derive the best possible group of players to represent the nation.
“At the completion of this three-day tournament, the selectors will select two squads so that we play two or three practice games before selecting the national teams,” the TDO revealed.
Players will become eligible for selection to the two squads through their performance in the League, while Stuart added that past performance at the national level will also be taken into consideration.
The Regional Four-day will start in November, and with the NAGICO Super50 slated for early next year, Stuart indicated that the Jaguars Franchise League 50-over competition will commence in November and end in December. From this tournament, the Guyana team will be chosen to play in the regional Super50.
“It would mean that some of the guys who would be competing in the regional [Four-day] tournament will not be available for some part of that local [50-over] tournament. But we did it like that last year and it was still competitive and we were able to see persons coming through,” Stuart pointed out.
The Jaguars Franchise League comprises eight teams- four from Demerara, three Berbice and one from Essequibo. They are West Berbice, Upper Corentyne, Lower Corentyne, East Coast Demerara, Georgetown, West Demerara, Upper Demerara/East Bank Demerara and Essequibo.
Lower Corentyne currently lead the Three-day points table and are poised the win the competition. They have 85.1 points, gathered from five wins and a collection of crucial bonus points.
West Demerara are in second position on 64.1 points, followed East Coast Demerara (59.3), Upper Corentyne (34.8), Essequibo (30.5), West Berbice (29), Upper Demerara/East Bank Demerara (25.1) and Georgetown (24.4).
The sixth and penultimate round will begin on Friday with West Berbice playing Georgetown at the Young Warriors ground in Cumberland, Berbice; Essequibo competing against East Coast Demerara at the Iman Bacchus ground on the Essequibo Coast; Upper Demerara/East Bank Demerara doing battle with Upper Corentyne at the Everest ground; and West Demerara challenging Lower Corentyne at the Tuschen Community Centre ground.
Photo caption: Part of the action in one of the games at the Everest ground