Harpy Eagles eye positive start on return to First-Class season

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The Cricket West Indies Four-Day Championship resumes on Wednesday (February 9) in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. Guyana Harpy Eagles are in the twin-island Republic and they will start their campaign against Windward Volcanoes.

The Queen’s Park Oval will be home to the Eagles for the first two of five rounds at this year’s Championship. It will be a clash of the fourth and fifth-place finishers at the previous championship, which ended in March 2020.

Both teams are eyeing a fresh start, especially the Eagles, who are seeking to regain the trophy they held for five consecutive seasons from 2014.

Eagles’ captain, Leon Johnson felt it was important they start well and apply themselves accordingly as they are “pumped and eager to go” after the long layoff.

At a virtual pre-match press briefing, Johnson did not disclose what would be his starting XI, but did say they would be picking the team Tuesday evening. He indicated that should wicketkeeper-batsman Tevin Imlach be selected, he would perform a role in the top-order and seasoned campaigner, Anthony Bramble, would do the duties behind the stumps.

As regards the balance and options available in the squad, the captain admitted “variety is missing” since the selectors went the route of selecting three left-arm spinners- Veerasammy Permaul, Gudakesh Motie and Antony Adams- and no outright off-spinner.

Much will be expected of West Indies Under-19 teammates Shimron Hetmyer (left) and Tevin Imlach

“It is missing, the variety, but over the last couple of years, we have done well with our two left-arm spinners. The left-arm spinners are the guys who would have performed well in the trials and it is only fair they have a go.”

He added, “We have three right-arm pacers as well, but we don’t look at these things…if they are the three best spinners available to us, well so be it.”

For Head Coach Esuan Crandon, he hopes his batsmen improve their thought process and capitalise on the opportunity to bat long.

“In Four-Day cricket, there is a lot of time to bat and we need to continue doing the things we have been doing over the years; we have a winning template that we will be using and we not going to change that but to see how we can do better as a team,” the Head Coach contended.

Volcanoes’ new Head Coach Shirley Clarke said his troops are up for the challenge and they have taken notice of some of the players in the Eagles set up who do not have overwhelming First-Class experience as potential area to exploit.

Meanwhile, over at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Trinidad and Tobago Red Force face Jamaica Scoprions while at the Kensington Oval, defending champions, Barbados Pride battle Leeward Hurricanes.

All three matches are scheduled to start at 10:00h

Guyana Harpy Eagles squad: Leon Johnson (Captain), Keemo Paul (Vice-Captain), Chandrapaul Hemraj, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Vishaul Singh, Akshaya Persaud, Anthony Bramble, Tevin Imlach, Veerasammy Permaul, Gudakesh Motie, Nial Smith, Clinton Pestano, Shimron Hetmyer, Keon Joseph, Antony Adams.

Windward Islands Volcanoes: Kavem Hodge (Captain), Keron Cottoy (Vice-Captain), Denis Smith, Devon Smith, Kimani Melius, Alick Athanaze, Ryan John, Larry Edward, Kenneth Dember, Shermon Lewis, Preston McSween, Teddy Bishop, Darel Cyrus, Josh Thomas, Ackeem Auguste.

 

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