Harpy Eagles must put distractions aside in quest for Four-Day supremacy


By Avenash Ramzan


After dominating headlines with issues surrounding selection over the last week, the Guyana Harpy Eagles will look to put those distractions aside and focus on the on-field action from Wednesday in the Cricket West Indies Four-Day Championship.

The five-time Professional Cricket League champions are down to face defending champions Barbados Pride, and with the season being a shortened one (five rounds instead of the usual 10), both sides will hope for a positive start.

The Senior National Selection Panel has been faced with burning questions regarding the composition of the Guyana Harpy Eagles squad, as it is the widespread view that there were some questionable selections and omissions.

The Panel came under fire, among other things, for omitting Essequibo left-arm spinner Antony Adams and including batsman Akshaya Persaud, as persons took to social media to express their disagreement.

Skipper Leon Johnson also told Barbados radio programme ‘Mason and Guest’ that he learnt of the squad via social media platform, Facebook.

Guyana Harpy Eagles captain, Leon Johnson

And while the public fiasco over the last week is an unwelcomed distraction ahead of the championship, the national senior team, led by the experienced Johnson, will have to find a way of putting those diversions aside and focus on what really matters at this time- regaining a title that has eluded them in the last two seasons.

They come up against a Barbados side that has enjoyed title success in the last two seasons, at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua.

President of the Guyana Cricket Board, Bissoondyal Singh, speaking to the players ahead of their departure to Antigua at the weekend, urged them to remain focused on the task at hand.

The players were involved in a one-week preparatory camp following the hosting of two Four-Day practice matches, which were used by the selectors to derive the squad.

An on-field concern, if any, is that both four-day games ended in three days, an indication that occupation at the crease is an improvement that is needed going forward.

With seasoned opener and the Harpy Eagles’ leading runscorer last season Tagenarine Chanderpaul out on West Indies duties in Zimbabwe and the experienced batsman Vishaul Singh not considered for selection, the batting has been deprived of two batsmen who are capable of spending time at the crease.

Last season Chanderpaul faced over 1,000 deliveries and Singh faced the second most by a Harpy Eagles batsman with 473.

From left: Newcomers Shamar Joseph, Kemol Savory, Ashmead Nedd and Matthew Nandu

The Harpy Eagles will hope newcomers Kemol Savory and opener Matthew Nandu, both of whom have a somewhat similar approach to batting, can produce the goods in their first season of First-Class cricket, with the likes of skipper Leon Johnson, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Tevin Imlach, Akshaya Persaud and Anthony Bramble set to lead the batting.

On the bowling front, the Eagles will be without left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie, also on West Indies duties in Zimbabwe.

Veerasammy Permaul leads an attack that includes two newcomers in spinner Ashmead Nedd and fast bowler Shamar Joseph, all-rounder Kevin Sinclair and fast bowlers Nial Smith and Ronsford Beaton.

Barbados Pride: Shane Dowrich (Captain) Camarie Boyce, Shamarh Brooks, Jonathan Drakes, Keon Harding, Chaim Holder, Akeem Jordan, Nicholas Kirton, Jair McAllister, Shayne Moseley, Zachary McCaskie, Shamar Springer and Kevin Wickham. Vasbert Drakes (Head Coach)

Other first round games

The tournament started on Tuesday with Windward Islands Volcanoes hosting Trinidad and Tobago Red Force at the Grenada National Stadium, as First-Class cricket makes a welcome return to the ‘Spice Isle.’

Both Trinidad and Tobago and Windward Islands have new captain with young left-hander Alick Athanaze at the helm for the home team and experienced left-hander Darren Bravo leading the visitors.

Trinidad and Tobago Red Force: Darren Bravo (Captain), Amir Jangoo, Imran Khan, Jason Mohammed, Terrance Hinds, Jyd Goolie, Jeremy Solozano, Yannic Cariah, Bryan Charles, Vikash Mohan, Uthman Muhammad, Tion Webster, Khary Pierre; David Furlonge (Head Coach)

Windward Islands Volcanoes: Alick Athanaze (Captain), Jerlani Robinson, Kavem Hodge, Keron Cottoy, Sunil Ambris, Justin Greaves, Tevyn Walcott, Kenneth Dember, Preston McSween, Teddy Bishop, Daurius Martin, Kimani Melius, Ryan John; Shirley Clarke (Head Coach)

The other encounter starts on Wednesday and will see Jamaica Scorpions taking on Leeward Islands Hurricanes at Coolidge Cricket Ground.

The Jamaicans will be looking to do the ‘treble’ following on from their capture of the CG United Super50 title in Antigua last November and the Hero Caribbean Premier League before that.

Jamaica Scorpions: Paul Palmer Jr. (Captain), Jamie Merchant, Alwyn Williams, Aldaine Thomas, Leroy Lugg, Kirk McKenzie, Romaine Morris, Abhijau Mansingh, Patrick Harty, Akim Fraser, Marquino Mindley, Gordon Bryan, Ojay Shields; Andrew Richardson (Head Coach)

Leeward Islands Hurricanes: Jahmar Hamilton (Captain), Rahkeem Cornwall (Vice-Captain), Mikyle Louis, Kieran Powell, Colin Archibald, Terance Warde, Jeremiah Louis, Keacy Carty, Montcin Hodge, Kofi James, Damion Williams, Sheeno Berridge, Hayden Walsh Jr; Stuart Williams (Head Coach).

1 Comment
  1. Xhrp2wkb1 says

    Shouldn’t Leon Johnson retire now?

    He had a raw deal from the West Indies unfortunately but that’s long gone now and nothing can be done about that anymore. He is a great servant of Guyana’s cricket but it’s time to go off gracefully. Maybe he could be slotted in another capacity.

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