Guyana Jaguars face final XI quandary with Hetmyer’s return
Guyana Jaguars face Windward Islands Volcanoes in the fifth round of the Regional Four-Day Championship from Thursday (February 13) in Grenada and the big question is who will make way for the likely inclusion of Shimron Hetmyer in the playing XI.
Four matches into the season and Jaguars have lost two matches, but are still in second place on the standings- 16.2 points off leaders Barbados Pride. In their latest game, Jaguars lost to Jamaica Scorpions by seven runs on Sunday at Providence.
Volcanoes are fourth on the standings after a draw with Trinidad and Tobago Red Force.
Jaguars have the added boost of Hetmyer, but with that comes a selection headache as to who would sit out of this crucial encounter for the defending champions.
Christopher Barnwell leads the Jaguars batting chart with 265 runs, just one ahead of opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul, followed by Chandrapaul Hemraj on 247.
Skipper Leon Johnson has 136 runs at an average of 19.42, while Vishaul Singh has 173 runs at 28.83.
With Johnson’s leadership role securing his position, one of the other aforementioned players could ‘run water’ or there is the possibility of young all-rounder Kevin Sinclair missing out and Veerasammy Permaul being the main spinner.
There is still leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo, who did not play the last match, and the reliable Bajan all-rounder Raymon Reifer.
Whatever the decision is, it will be a tough pill to swallow for the axed player. There is also the unpopular option of not playing Hetmyer, but that would be absurd given his calibre and the fact the Jaguars are looking to rebound from their latest defeat.
Hetmyer has only played twice in the Championship in the past two seasons and the Jaguars, looking to regain stability following their loss in the previous round, will be glad to have him add depth to their batting.
Last season, he made 26 and 61 against these same opponents in his only appearance in an eight-wicket victory for the Jaguars on home soil.
Another story line will be if the home team can exploit any vulnerability of the visitors to break the drought or will the Jaguars roar back to life and send a strong message to the contenders for their throne.
Of the ten matches between the two sides in the Professional Cricket League era, Jaguars have won all but two – a draw four years ago at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground and the first tied match ever in the Championship two years ago at Providence.
Match time is 10:00h on Thursday.
Windward Islands Volcanoes: Kavem Hodge (captain), Alick Athanaze, Roland Cato, Keron Cottoy, Andre Fletcher, Ray Jordan, Shermon Lewis, Desron Maloney, Preston McSween, Shane Shillingford, Devon Smith, Emmanuel Stewart, Bhaskar Yadram.
Guyana Jaguars: Leon Johnson (captain), Christopher Barnwell, Devendra Bishoo, Anthony Bramble, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Shimron Hetmyer, Keon Joseph, Veerasammy Permaul, Raymon Reifer, Kevin Sinclair, Vishaul Singh, Nial Smith.