Lack of centuries and pace-bowling points hampered Guyana Jaguars, reckons Crandon
It is now public knowledge Barbados Pride are the new Regional Four-Day champions, having dethroned five-time winners Guyana Jaguars in a truncated 2019-20 tournament.
Over the five years of Jaguars dominance, moreso the last two, it was the seamers who accounted for the bulk of the wickets, a shift from the spin dominance.
Reflecting on the just-concluded season, Head Coach Esuan Crandon said he felt Jaguars missed the services of some experienced players, and the fielding and batting were also contributing factors in his side missing out on title honours.
During the 2018-19 season, the Jaguars’ ‘fast men’ took 126 wickets and the spinners 58. Those pace bowling wickets were the equivalent of 25.2 points; Jaguars won the title by a 20-point lead over the second placed side.
This season, led by Veerasammy Permaul with 50 scalps, the spinners took 68 wickets and the seamers just 64. It meant the Jaguars got only 12.8 pace-bowling after the eight rounds, as compared to Pride, who secured 24.2 points.
Though promising speedster Nail Smith was a blast at the start of the championship and ended with 20 wickets, backed up by Raymon Reifer (16) and Keon Joseph (12), the services of Romario Shepherd and Clinton Pestano were dearly missed.
Last season, the duo took 59 wickets combined, however, Shepherd was elevated to West Indies duties and Pestano’s chronic knee injury kept him on the sidelines.
Even Keemo Paul, who played just three matches and took 20 wickets and Sherfane Rutherford with 10 wickets, proved to be valuable contributions in the last title success. The quartet also made handy contributions with the bat.
“We would have missed a few guys, especially from a bowling perspective in regards to fast-bowling points, but nevertheless I thought we had good bowlers to do such. We were not good enough in the field and that was one of the reasons [we did not win]; we gave opposition second chances too often,” the former West Indies Assistant Coach related to News Room Sport in a recent interview.
Apart from the troubles to consistently bowl out oppositions twice in a match, Jaguars often failed to get big totals.
Only once they went over the 400-run mark when Leon Johnson (189*) and Christopher Barnwell (107) got the only two centuries of the season for Jaguars.
The two were also the only Jaguars players with over 400 runs. Opener Chandrapaul Hemraj ended with the best average of 36.55 from six matches.
Jaguars batsmen managed 15 half-centuries this season. Last season they had four hundreds and 20 fifties.
The opening partnership was another area of concern with the various opening combinations of Hemraj, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Shimron Hetmyer, Kevin Sinclair and Tevin Imlach yielding only 331 runs at 23.64 per innings.
“Just two centuries this year; the conversion rate was not good enough. When we would have done well, we would have had our openers doing well and we did not have that consistent start. We still had good players who I thought could have pulled it off.’’
Though there were some disappointing returns in certain areas, the coach felt the future is bright in young prospects such as Nial Smith, who took 20 wickets in his debut season, and the promising all-rounder Kevin Sinclair.
“Nial was impressive in the first couple of rounds; definitely a good find for us and he definitely needs some strengthening work during this off-season and some more work on his skills.’’
“Sinclair is [currently] more of a limited-overs bowler; his role is to keep things tight and create pressure and in doing so he was able to pick up a few wickets [12 to be exact]. He has some work to do in Four-Day cricket, but he is a very confident player and always wants to put in the hard work to achieve the best.’’
The 38-year-old had voiced he has a “clear vision” on how to prepare for the new season and further felt once all parties work collectively, Jaguars can regain their top spot in the Four-Day championship.