Botha urges batsmen to support ‘Batting Director’ Hetmyer

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By Akeem Greene

In his first full season for home franchise, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Shimron Hetmyer was the Golden Boy, smashing 440 runs in 12 matches at an average 40 and an impressive strike rate of 148.14.

He was 21 years-old then, becoming the youngest player to score a century in the Caribbean Premier League.

A year later, Team Manager Omar Khan has appointed him, “Director of Batting”, a way of placing more responsibilities on the younger players to get the best results out of them.

While Hetmyer will undoubtedly be a pivotal man in any success this season, Head Coach Johan Botha firmly believes that it is vital for other batsmen to step up to the plate.

“As I said to the group this morning [Friday], we can’t just all get here and hope ‘Hetty’ get runs; everyone must be up for it. We got Sherfane Rutherford, he played eight out of the 10 games [last season] and we want him to do more. Brandon King is new and obviously Nicholas Pooran is a big hit. We’ve got some batsmen around ‘Hetty’, so it not all on him,” Botha stated after the squad got their first training session at the National Stadium, Providence.

Guyana Amazon Warriors Head Coach, Johan Botha (Photo: Akeem Greene)

Botha, who is in his second season with the Warriors, also alluded to the depth in batting with Shadab Khan, Keemo Paul and Romario Shepherd being valuable lower-order hitters.

The Bridesmaid tag continues to haunt the four-time finalist, but the aim continues to be the same, qualify for the top four and get into the final. It is from there he hopes some of the new players can offer something different.

Chandrapaul Hemraj, Clinton Pestano, Nicholas Pooran, Brandon King, Khan, Ben Lauglin, Odean Smith and Keagan Simmons are the fresh faces.

Amazon Warriors player go through their stretches on Friday under the guidance of Physio Jason Pilgrim (Photo: Akeem Greene)

The former South African off-spinner is backing his international trio of bowlers to get the job done.

“Obviously our internationals [players] are three bowlers which is nice to have. In close games and big situations, you want that experience to close games out for you. So that’s why we went with Ben Lauglin, Chris Green and Shadab Khan to start. If we can get right amount of runs, we are looking at a very good defensive bowling unit.”

Additionally, Warriors have added Analyst Saurab Walkar to their think-tank. His data would give the players greater insights into areas of strengths and weaknesses. Walker has worked with Mumbai Ranji Trophy side and inaugural Indian Premier League winners Rajasthan Royals.

Warriors will face St. Lucia Zouks in their opening match on Thursday, September 5, at the National Stadium, Providence, from 18:00h.

They then face St. Kitts Patriots (Saturday) from 20:00h and Barbados Tridents (Sunday) from 17:00h before heading off for five matches on the road.

Botha is conscious that a good start is important, but is not getting carried away over a possible clean sweep in the opening three games at Providence.

The Guyana Amazon Warriors squad reads: Shadab Khan, Nicholas Pooran, Shoaib Malik, Shimron Hetmyer, Ben Lauglin, Chris Green, Keemo Paul, Sherfane Rutherford, Brandon King, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Keagan Simmons, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Veerasammy, Permaul, Anthony Bramble and Clinton Pestano.

Absent from training Friday were Khan, Pooran, Malik, Hetmyer, Green and Paul. They are due to link up with the squad over the coming days.

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