CPL 2020: Get to know the Guyana Amazon Warriors
By Avenash Ramzan
A Caribbean Premier League (CPL) title continues to elude the Guyana Amazon Warriors, but none could be more hurtful than last season when they lost the all-important championship game to Barbados Tridents after a perfect run in the lead-up.
With five trips to the final, albeit all unsuccessful, the Warriors have displayed tremendous consistency in CPL, and they would hope to go one step further this season.
The 2020 Player Draft has now been completed and the Warriors have assembled their group of players for the August 18 to September 10 tournament. Let’s get to know the players a little better.
Imran Tahir (Leg-spinner)– At 41, the South African leggie is still going strong, both in terms of his wicket-taking ability and superb athleticism. The experience of 365 wickets from 290 games at an economy rate of 7.00 will certainly be vital to the Warriors chances this season. In 21 CPL games, Tahir has taken 32 wickets at an economy rate of 5.8 and a best of 4-22. Last season, he was outstanding for the Warriors, claiming 16 wickets at an average of 12.3 and economy rate of 5.6.
Nicholas Pooran (Wicketkeeper/batsman)– A rising star of West Indies cricket, Pooran’s overall strike rate in CPL is 154.2. He was the Warriors marquee player in 2019, and after striking at 150 in nine innings, including two fifties, the franchise had little hesitation in retaining him. On his day, the diminutive left-hander can destroy any bowling attack, as he did last season against eventual champions Barbados Tridents, cracking 61 off 30 balls at Providence. Once again, Pooran is tipped to play a key role for the Warriors, both in front and behind the stumps.
Brandon King (Batsman)– After a quiet start, Brandon was the ‘king’ of the 2019 tournament, chalking up a tournament-leading 496 at an average of 55 and a strike rate of 148.9. So dominant was his performance that the Jamaican right-hander struck the most sixes in the competition (32) and blasted the highest individual score, a 72-ball 132 not out against Barbados Tridents. He also racked up three fifties. He was subsequently summoned to West Indies duties, and though his returns were not that impressive, King would be keen to prove that his 2019 exploits were no fluke.
Ross Taylor (Batsman)– With the experienced Shoaib Malik missing this season due to international commitments, the inclusion of the Kiwi right-hander seems a like-for-like replacement. The 36-year-old has had previous experience with the Jamaica Tallawahs, Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel and St. Lucia Zouks, averaging 31.5 and striking at 110 in 36 games. A veteran of 273 T20 games, Taylor brings a wealth of experience to the Warriors line-up, and could very well be a candidate to lead the side this season.
Shimron Hetmyer (Batsman)– After a breakout CPL season in 2018 where he scored 440 runs, including a maiden T20 hundred, Hetmyer had a mixed 2019, totalling just 224 runs in 12 innings. He did manage to get a fifty, but consistency eluded him last time around. It is something the left-hander would look to rectify, as he is seen as a crucial element in the Warriors middle-order. Hetmyer’s fielding has also been a crucial factor for the Warriors, as he has pulled off some stunners while patrolling the boundary.
Chris Green (All-rounder)– CPL 2020 will be somewhat of a test for the charismatic Australian. Two weeks ago he was cleared to resume bowling after his off-spinner and faster ball came under scrutiny. Green has been a vital member of the Warriors set-up over the last two years, claiming 23 wickets in 23 games. His economy rate of 6.4 is remarkable, given that the majority of his 85.2 overs in the last two seasons have come in the Powerplay. He is one of the front-runners to lead the side this year.
Qais Ahmad (Leg-spinner)– At 19, the Afghan has already been travelling the globe playing T20 leagues. He had just three games for the Warriors in 2019, but picked up seven wickets at 11.4 and an economy rate of 7.00. In 2018, he also had a stint with the St. Lucia Stars. Qais is part of a long list of spinners the Warriors have assembled this season.
Keemo Paul (All-rounder)– A West Indies Under-19 Youth World Cup winner, Paul has developed a reputation of being quite effective in the ‘death’ overs. His economy rate of 9.1 is high, but that comes with the territory, as teams look to go big in the final stages. He’s a proven wicket-taker, a solid lower-order hitter and an excellent fielder, skills necessary in the format. Remember, he has the best figures by a West Indian in T20Is, 5-15 against Bangladesh in Dhaka in December 2018.
Sherfane Rutherford (All-rounder)– Like Hetmyer and Paul, Rutherford’s exploits in CPL have earned him an IPL contract. Rutherford strikes at 141.7 in CPL, and though he hasn’t churned out the big runs, he has been effective boosting the Warriors in the final stages of the innings. One of the most memorable innings was a brutal 45* off 13 balls against Trinbago Knight Riders in 2018 at Providence. That innings included six massive sixes, as the Warriors mowed down 155 in 14.1 overs, after they needed to win inside 15.3 overs to finish in the top-two.
Romario Shepherd (All-rounder)– Though he got limited opportunities in his debut season in 2018, the strongly-built Shepherd showed glimpses of his potential, removing Trinbago Knight Riders big trio Colin Munro, Brendon McCullum and Darren Bravo is a fiery spell at Queen’s Park Oval. Last season, he picked up 13 wickets in nine games, including a best of 4-13. He’s also destructive with the bat, as an overall CPL strike rate of 176.2 would attest. Shepherd’s domestic performances for the Warriors and Guyana Jaguars haven’t gone unnoticed; he has played two T20Is and five ODIs thus far.
Naveen-ul-Haq (Fast bowler)– The 20-year-old Afghan fast bowler is set to feature in CPL for the first time. Against West Indies in November 2019, the right-armer picked up five wickets in three games, including 3-24 in the final match, accounting for Brandon King, Kieron Pollard and Jason Holder. In 35 domestic T20 games, Naveen has picked up 36 wickets. He averages 24.94, has an economy rate of 7.29 with a best of 3-21.
Chandrapaul Hemraj (Batsman)– Hemraj was a revelation in 2019, partnering Brandon King at the top to give the Warriors some flying starts. After a solitary innings of 37 for St. Lucia Stars in 2018, the dashing left-hander got more opportunity with his home franchise, racking up 299 runs in 12 innings, including two fifties. He was also effective with the ball, his left-arm spin accounting for five wickets in 2019, including a first ball dismissal of Tridents opener Alex Hales at Providence.
Kevin Sinclair (All-rounder)– After some outstanding performances for West Indies Emerging Players in the 2019 Super50 Cup, all-rounder Sinclair is set for his maiden CPL stint. An energetic off-spinner and free-flowing right-hander, Sinclair fits the T20 mould. His 13 wickets from nine games at an outstanding economy rate of 2.87 were crucial in Emerging Players winning the title. Look out for Sinclair’s acrobatic wicket celebration this CPL.
Ashmead Nedd (Left-arm spinner)– Like Sinclair, Nedd announced himself in senior cricket with some outstanding returns for West Indies Emerging Players in the Super50 Cup. In six games, picked up 11 wickets, going at an economy rate of 3.27 with a best of 4-29. Nedd is widely seen as one for the future, and this CPL provides another opportunity for the Demerara Cricket Club and West Indies Under-19 cricketer to rise up the ranks.
Odean Smith (Fast bowler)– The 23-year-old Jamaican was part of the Warriors set-up last season, capturing four wickets in six games. With previous stints with Jamaica Tallawahs and St. Lucia Stars, Smith has nine wickets in 13 games in all CPL, with a best of 3-20. He has an economy rate of 9.3.
Anthony Bramble (Wicketkeeper/batsman)– Wicketkeeper Bramble was part of the Warriors squad last season, but did not play a game. In fact, his last CPL outing was in 2016 when he played all 12 games, managing 70 runs in 10 innings with a best of 27 not out. That year he had nine catches and one stumping.
Jasdeep Singh (Fast bowler)– Singh is the ICC Americas player in the Warriors squad for 2020 CPL. He has represented the USA in four T20Is and four ODIs, and one of his career highlights was a hat-trick in the inaugural American Cricket Federation National Championship in Los Angeles in October 2012.