Maiden call-up for Yadram and Rutherford; Hemraj and Jacobs recalled
By Avenash Ramzan
West Indies Under-19 player Bhaskar Yadram and all-rounder Sherfane Rutherford are the newcomers in Guyana Jaguars 13-man squad for the ninth round game against Windward Islands Volcanoes in the West Indies Cricket Board’s Professional Cricket League Four-day, set to start on Saturday at Providence.
Also handed a recall to the senior national set-up are middle-order batsman Chandrapaul Hemraj and all-rounder Steven Jacobs. Left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul, who was in the West Indies T20 training squad when the last round was played, makes a return to the squad.
The changes became necessary after opener Shimron Hetmyer, all-rounder Raymon Reifer, fast bowler Keon Joseph and batsman Vishaul Singh were called up as part of the West Indies Cricket Board’s President’s XI to face Pakistan in a three-day warm-up game this weekend in Jamaica, while veteran batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul is unavailable for this round.
The call-up for Yadram is another milestone in his young, but colourful career. The tall right-hander, who can also bowl off-spin and medium and wicketkeep, was part of the West Indies Under-19 team that participated in the Regional Super50 competition this year, as part of their preparation for the upcoming Under-19 World Cup.
The 17-year-old made 136 runs in eight games with a highest of 52 in the opening match against Windward Islands Volcanoes, while he also picked up four wickets, with a best of 3-6 against English County side Kent Spitfire.
However, he was outstanding in the Jaguars Franchise League Three-day competition last year, which put the national selectors on notice. The Enterprise Busta Sports Club player announced himself on the senior stage, stroking 547 runs for East Coast Demerara, the fifth most in the competition.
In the game against Essequibo, Yadram, who was a vital member of the Guyana Under-19 side that won the Regional 50-over title in 2016, created history by becoming the first player in the tournament’s history to score two hundreds (118 and 121) in the same match.
Eighteen-year-old Rutherford is one of the top all-rounders in domestic cricket. Turning out for East Bank Demerara in the Jaguars Franchise League Three-day, the Guyana youth player scored 243 runs and picked up 21 wickets, and was the second best player in both batting and batting for the franchise. He had a highest score of 106 and best bowling figures of 4-39.
At 23, former Guyana and West Indies Under-19 batsman Hemraj is making a return to national side after an absence of three years. The elegant left-hander played the last of his five First-Class matches back in April 2014, after which he took a self-imposed break from the game.
He however, returned with a bang in the Jaguars Franchise League Three-day, racking up 566 runs for East Coast Demerara, including a majestic unbeaten 250 against Essequibo at the Imam Bacchus ground. It was by far the highest individual score in the competition.
In five First-Class games, Hemraj has managed 131 runs with a highest of 34 in his last innings against Leeward Islands in North Sound, Antigua.
Jacobs last represented Guyana in First-Class cricket back in December 2015 against hosts Jamaica. Once he breaks into the XI, the 28-year-old would look to improve on his record which stands at 690 runs and 51 wickets from 24 games. He has a highest score of 75 among four fifties and career-best bowling figures of 4-35.
In the Jaguars Franchise League Three-day, Jacobs managed 158 runs with a highest of 61 and picked up 23 wickets with a best of 4-69, playing for East Bank Demerara.
The Guyana Jaguars meanwhile, enter this round with 109.8 points at the top of the pile, while Barbados Pride lie second with 105.2.
The Jaguars, two-time defending champions, have two games remaining, while all the other teams with the exception of Leeward Islands Hurricanes, have only one round remaining.
It means therefore, that the Jaguars are on course to cop an unprecedented third straight Regional Four-day title.
The squad reads: Assad Fudadin, Rajendra Chandrika, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Leon Johnson (Captain), Bhaskar Yadram, Keemo Paul, Anthony Bramble, Romario Shepherd, Veerasammy Permaul (Vice captain), Gudakesh Motie, Clinton Pestano, Steven Jacobs and Sherfane Rutherford.