Sinclair brings balance to Jaguars, says Selector Griffith
By Akeem Greene
Cricket Guyana Inc. has named the 13-man squad for Guyana Jaguars opening match in the 2020 West Indies Four-Day Championship against nemesis Leeward Islands Hurricanes on January 9, a day/night match in Antigua.
Budding all-round talent Kevin Sinclair is one of the two fresh faces for the pink ball match, and according to selector Rayon Griffith, Sinclair’s presence comes as a result of the balance he brings.
Sinclair offers great accuracy and economical returns with his tall off-spin and is a solid batsman for the middle to lower-order. He showed this in the first practice match with a fine innings of 53, and his accuracy was displayed throughout the Regional Super50 for champions West Indies Emerging Players.
“He [Sinclair] has showed the qualities, his work ethic has been good and he is a top man in the yo-yo test. He has shown improvement and last year he was very close, but Ramaal Lewis got the edge. Sinclair with his height should create more bounce and can bring a good balance to the team,” Griffith stated.
With senior statesmen Veerasammy Permaul and Devendra Bishoo being front-runners for the spin twin options, Gudakesh Motie, another young talent, finds himself out of the picture, at least for the moment.
“Motie has done well; it is not the end of the road for him, he can get back into the team, but it has become so competitive; he just has to fight and continue to perform.”
He added, “We also want to try something different. Teams are planning for us so we have to plan too. We often had spinners who just took the ball away (from right handers) and with Sinclair he offers us something different, bringing a better balance.”
Fast bowler Nial Smith, another Berbician, gets his maiden call in the red-ball format. He too got Super50 experience last year and with Romario Shepherd and Keemo Paul on international duty, and Clinton Pestano out with a knee injury, his moment to enter the Four-Day limelight has arrived.
He solidified his case during the practice match where he rocked the core of the Jaguars’ batting group with searing pace and aggression.
“It is a little while I have seen Smith and he has the potential. He has some pace, and this format you need some pace. He is a good young bowler and will be good support to [Keon] Joseph who we know is a quality bowler.”
Another notable selection is that of wicket keeper batsman Tevin Imlach, who represented the West Indies Under-19s in the successful Youth World Cup campaign in 2016, and is considered to be Anthony Bramble’s understudy in the red-ball format.
The 23-year-old made his First-Class debut in 2018, his lone match to date, and Griffith’s rationale for selection is that of giving him more exposure.
“We need someone to back up Bramble. You would have seen in the Super50, Bramble was injured but we had [Kemol] Savory. Imlach is a good young player and we have him behind Bramble. We have to think about developing young players, Bramble is young too (29 to be specific), but we have to start building towards the future.”
Additionally, Griffith noted, Imlach offers a change to the batting line-up, give he is right-handed. Of the top seven, five are left-handers.
“Imlach also provides an option as back-up opener. He brings a different dynamic for us. Often teams have gone the off-spin option against us and with Imlach we have the option of doing something different.”
The squad reads: Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Leon Johnson (Captain), Christopher Barnwell, Vishaul Singh, Devendra Bishoo, Tevin Imlach, Keon Joseph, Raymon Reifer, Anthony Bramble, Veerasammy Permaul, Nial Smith and Kevin Sinclair.
The Coach is Esuan Crandon with Shivnarine Chanderpaul doubling as Assistant Coach and Manager. Neil Barry Jr. is the Physiotherapist.