PCL: Jaguars upbeat ahead of season opener against Volcanoes

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By Akeem Greene

Four-time defending champions Guyana Jaguars will open their campaign in the 2018/2019 Professional Cricket League (PCL) Four-day tournament against Windward Islands Volcanoes on Thursday, and according to Assistant Coach Rayon Griffith, they are in high spirits.

Their quest for a fifth consecutive four-day title under the astute leadership of Leon Johnson commences with a pink ball test at the Daren Sammy Stadium in St. Lucia.

Despite the damp weather on the island, Griffith, speaking to News Room Sport via telephone on Wednesday afternoon, noted that preparation prior to leaving Guyana was good, but they are hoping for better weather in St. Lucia for pitch practice later on Wednesday.

Assistant Coach Rayon Griffith and Head Coach Esuan Crandon will have some pondering to do over the playing XI (Photo: CWI)

He further stated, “We are confident given over the last three seasons, we have gotten good results against them and we will want to continue to be sharp.”

The Assistant Coach conveyed that it is important for the team to not just start on a winning note, but ensure they execute the basics correctly, which would set the tone for the rest of the season.

Questioned on whether Johnson and Vishaul Singh will be under any added pressure to perform, given the absence of four core players in the winning formula, he responded: “No, I don’t see them being under any added pressure; these guys are senior and have been around a while now. They are hungry for success and they will do what is required.”

Much will be expected of captain Leon Johnson to deliver in the opening round (Photo by WICB Media/Randy Brooks of Brooks Latouche Photography)

Akshaya Persaud, with two matches under his belt, and Tevin Imlach, yet to debut, are fighting for one of the batting spots. However, Griffith could not say who will get the nod since the team’s management is yet to meet to iron out the playing XI, given the current weather patterns.

He did speak glowingly about their readiness after seasons upon seasons of preparation to showcase their talent and in a particular of Imlach for making some meaningful contributions for Windies ‘B’ during the recent Regional Super50.

For Persaud, he has not been among the runs of recent, but one would assume his selection is based on the 941 runs in 13 matches with three hundreds and four fifties, at an average of 52 while playing for West Demerara in the 2016 and 2017 Franchise League.

In the two matches last season, Jaguars defeated Volcanoes by seven runs when they played in St. Lucia and on the return visit, the two produced a thrilling tie at Providence.

At the end of the ten rounds, they were on different ends of the points table with Jaguars topping with 166.8 points compared to Volcanoes in the penultimate position of the six franchises with 86.6 points.

Former Windies U-19 wicketkeeper/batsman Tevin Imlach is in line for a First-Class debut (Photo: Avenash Ramzan)

Windward Islands Volcanoes squad: Kirk Edwards (captain), Roland Cato, Tyron Theophile, Kaveem Hodge, Tarryck Gabriel, Alick Anthanaze, Dennis Smith, Shane Shillingford, Audy Alexander, Ryan John, Delron Johnson, Ray Jordon and Josh Thomas.

Guyana Jaguars squad: Leon Johnson (captain), Vishaul Singh (vice-captain), Trevon Griffith, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Anthony Bramble, Veerasammy Permaul, Gudakesh Motie, Akshaya Persaud, Christopher Barnwell, Clinton Pestano, Romario Shepherd, Keon Joseph and Tevin Imlach.

The match is scheduled to commence at 14:00h daily.

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