Journalists call for fresh faces in Guyana Jaguars set-up

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By Akeem Greene

It is improbable, but still mathematically possible for Guyana Jaguars to win a sixth consecutive Regional Four-Day title in the era of the Professional Cricket League (PCL).

Jaguars are currently tied with Jamaica Scorpions on 91.8 points, 43 points adrift of leaders Barbados Pride. There are still two outstanding rounds to play whenever the season resumes from the suspension due to the coronavirus.

Mathematically speaking, Jaguars, who will face Windward Islands Volcanoes at home then away to Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, can get a maximum of 48 points, which would give them the title, should Pride lose their remaining two home matches, and hardly gain any points.

It is a maximum of 24 points per match, on the basis that all batting points are collected and fast-bowlers take all 20 wickets.

Given the form of Pride and the high possibility their international players will be available for those two home matches, they remain strong favourites to lift the title.

Jaguars’ title chances took a serious hit when they lost their third match in eight rounds to Pride by 236 runs on Saturday at Providence.

As such, News Room Sport reached out to local Sport Journalists who followed the tournament this season to review Jaguars performance thus far and their possible approach for the remaining games.

The consensus was that young and new talents should be given an opportunity going forward.

Romario Samaroo of Stabroek News

2018 Guyana Cricket Board Journalist of the Year, Romario Samaroo of Stabroek News, noted, “I think the batting did not step up with a lot of senior guys inside the team; they really blew it coming down to the end after starting off well…the performance in this match [against Barbados] does not reflect what Guyana has done in the past.”

He added, “It is unlikely Guyana will win the title, even though mathematically they still stand a chance. Heading forward is a chance to reshuffle and give some of the younger guys a chance. We had Ashmead Nedd and Kevlon Anderson who just came from the Under-19 World Cup, Ronaldo Alimohamed is one who has been knocking on the door, and there is Gudakesh Motie who has played one match this season…Guyana should reshuffle and groom the future players.”

Samaroo further rationalised that current West Indies players Keemo Paul, Romario Shepherd and Shimron Hetmyer have somewhat “established themselves” and they can “sit out and give younger guys a chance.”

“Nial Smith for sure should be in the team and Tage [Tagenarine Chanderpaul] has struggled this season, and if you rest the openers, it opens the door for Tevin Imlach and Akshaya Persaud to have a go in that capacity.”

He further noted that the Jaguars leading runscorers this season, Leon Johnson and Christopher Barnwell, should not be rested given their experience would be vital.

Additionally, Samaroo spoke of allowing Imlach to take up the wicketkeeper role, and rest the tournament’s leading wicket-taker Veerasammy Permaul in favour of young Motie.

Brandon Corlette of Guyana Times

Brandon Corlette of the Guyana Times said, “We should expose some new talents and it was our batting which let us down at home; only two centuries were scored this season.”

Corlette, who copped the 2019 GCB Journalist of the Year award, acknowledged Permaul as the outstanding bowler this season, but noted it was not a complete group performance by the bowlers as last season where Guyana had the most pace-bowling points.

Similarly, Corlette called for Persaud and Anderson to be included. “Permaul should be rested because it is time to expose some new players and probably Leon Johnson. But he has been among the runs, but still not the level of consistency he would like; it would be a big call to leave out the skipper and Vishaul Singh.”

Corlette revealed that Barnwell and Bramble are senior guys who can step up to captain the team.

Clifton Ross of Guyana Chronicle

Clifton Ross of Guyana Chronicle expressed it has been a “mixed start to the season” and due to some senior guys being out, “it placed a lot of pressure on the younger guys.”

Ross added, “We did not have too many fast-bowling points in the tournament…we did not have that firepower in the pacers. You saw the difference when Paul and Shepherd came in.”

Ross also alluded to Johnson’s form, noting that it would been most beneficial for him to continue with the good form, noting that “if the captain does well, usually the team follows suit.”

His approach to changes is a bit from his colleagues, noting “we should play our full strength team in the penultimate match and look to get as much possible points and hope Pride lose, but if we see after that round we see cannot win the tournament no matter what then we should give the youngsters a chance to see how the perform at Four-Day level.”

Sean Devers of Kaieteur News

Veteran journalist, Sean Devers reiterated calls for the inclusion of Anderson and Nedd for exposure purposes and said, “I think last year when they lost three matches in the tournament that was an indication of their downward slide. This year the [other] teams were better in terms of strength with the West Indies players coming back and our fast-bowling attack was depleted, and our batting was far less than positive.”

Notable Jaguars stats:

  • Leon Johnson (472) and Christopher Barnwell (435) are the only two Jaguars batsmen to surpass 400 runs thus far and both are the only centurions.
  • Chandrapaul Hemraj has the best batting average of 36.55 from six matches.
  • Veerasammy Permaul has taken 50 wickets, the most in the tournament, while Nial Smith (20 wickets) is second to him on Jaguars charts. Raymon Reifer has 16, while Kevin Sinclair and Keon Joseph have 12 each.

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