PCL: Volcanoes in fearless Jaguars’ path
By Akeem Greene
Guyana Jaguars will fancy their chances to win four matches on the trot in the 2018-19 Professional Cricket League 4-Day Championship when they host Windward Islands Volcanoes at the National Stadium, Providence, from Thursday.
Once again Jaguars will be missing key figures in Vice-Captain Vishaul Singh, Raymon Reifer and Chandrapul Hemraj, whose absence is due to Windies duties. The trio is expected to feature in a West Indies Board XI to face England in a warm-up game in Barbados starting January 15, ahead of the three-match Test series, beginning eight days later.
Test players Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul and opener Trevon Griffith are the replacements.
Singh, in an interview with News Room Sport on Wednesday, noted the win over Barbados Pride in the previous match was a humongous boost since Pride’s squad contained nine international players.
The morale-boosting victory could be the key for surging towards a fifth straight title under the astute leadership of Leon Johnson.
Volcanoes are third on the points standings, 20.2 points adrift of Jaguars, but they also are entering this round buoyed, having toppled Jamaica Scorpions at Sabina Park.
But the power they possessed in that squad will be absent since Test batsman Sunil Ambris is unavailable and champion off-spinner Shane Shillingford is now suspended for bowling in domestic cricket.
The Jaguars have won all but three of their last nine contests against the Volcanoes in the PCL era (2014-15 onwards) and have not lost a match to the visitors in 11 contests since 2013. Their last bout produced a thrilling tie with Shillingford snaring match figures of 9-83.
Singh, with a score of 56, was the lone pillar in a chase of 165 which ended when Anthony Bramble was last man out for 45 with scores level.
Veteran Devon Smith, who is known to be a torn for the Jaguars, missed a century in the said match by five runs and he is expected to be another stonewall. However, he will have to contended with the evergreen left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul, who continues his red-hot form with 20 wickets in the bag this season.
The new pitches at the venue have been conducive to ‘good’ scores and should Jaguars take first strike, and the ‘millionare kid’ Hetmyer cuts loose, fans could be in for treat. At the said time, Sherman Lewis and Obed McCoy all have international experience and they can count on round-arm pace Ray Jordan to assist.
It will be a tough call as to who sits out to allow Gudakesh Motie back into the team since the trend is to play two spinners at Providence. Both seamers Romario Shepherd and Clinton Pestano have been among the wickets and runs this season.
Match time is 09:30h and admission to the venue is free.
JAGUARS (from) – Leon Johnson (captain), Christopher Barnwell, Anthony Bramble, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Trevon Griffith, Shimron Hetmyer, Keon Joseph, Gudakesh Motie, Keemo Paul, Veerasammy Permaul, Clinton Pestano, Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd
VOLCANOES (from) – Kirk Edwards (captain), Audy Alexander, Alick Athanaze, Roland Cato, Larry Edward, Tarryck Gabriel, Kavem Hodge, Ray Jordan, Shermon Lewis, Obed McCoy, Denis Smith, Devon Smith, Josh Thomas