This season’s Four-Day Professional Cricket League bowls of today in Barbados, Grenada and Guyana and three-times defending champions Guyana Jaguars battle Jamaica Scorpions from 09:30hrs at Providence.
Both teams have been heavily hit by the unavailability of key players but Jamaica’s Coach Robert Samuels feels that while his team is weakened it could provide the young players a chance to prove themselves.
“When you ask what is the strength of my team I would have quickly said our bowling but with seven players missing, I can’t say that. What I can say is that their absence gives the others a chance to step up and a make a mark on their careers,” said the 46-year-old Samuels, who got 76 and an unbeaten 35 in his last Test at Perth and scored a century and a50 in six Tests.
“It’s a squad with new faces, but they have been knocking on the door, and it’s going to be a test for them to see if they have what it takes to survive at first-class level and even go forward in terms of playing Test match cricket. If we can have the fringe players coming into the team and doing well, along with the players already there, then the future of Jamaica’s cricket looks very good,” disclosed Samuels.
“Guyana has also lost a few players and if the youngsters on both sides make use of this chance before the senior players return I think this will be a keenly fought contest,” said Samuels.
The match will be played on one of the ‘relayed’ pitches which should be good for batting but the game could be affected by rain and the toss could be important.
Jaguars will be missing seven key players in Bishoo, Reifer and Hetymer (West Indies in Zimbabwe), Keon Joseph and Vishaul Singh (WI ‘A’ team in Jamaica), Shiv Chanderpaul (unavailable for personal reasons) and Ronsford Beaton who leaves for the Bangladesh T20 League tomorrow.
Jaguars lost their last game of last season to the Leewards but in their three seasons of dominance, Guyana lost only three times in 30 matches and would be hoping to begin another unbeaten streak in this game to kick start their campaign for a 12th West Indies First-Class title before Shiv, Joseph and Singh returns for Guyana’s next match in St Lucia.
They will depend on an out of form Rajendra Chandrika and Tagenarine Chanderpaul to give them a good foundation for Chanderpaul Hemraj, Skipper Leon Johnson and possibly Akshaya Persaud, who could make his debut after scoring the most runs the GCB three-day Franchise League, to build on.
Also in the Jaguars batting line-up are Anthony Bramble, Kemo Paul, Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd and Veerasammy Permaul while their bowling could be led by the pace trio of Shepherd, Paul and Rutherford. Left-arm spinners Permaul and Gudakesh Motie, the leading wicket-taker in the GCB League, could do the bulk of the bowling.
Jamaica will pin their hopes on the Guyanese pair of Fudadin and Griffith, Skipper Paul Palmer Jr, 22-year-old Allen, already with three fifties in four matches and 27-year-old Garth Garvey.
Without Jerome Taylor, Reynard Leveridge and Oshane Thomas, who are on West Indies duties, Jason Dawes will lead the attack and expect support from 28-year-old Keno Wallace and Derval Green.
In the absence of injured captain Nikita Miller, the spin will come from JDF’s left-arm wrist spinner Dennis Bulli and off-spinner Damani Sewell, who represented Jamaica in the Regional super50.
Sewell, left-arm spinner Paul Harrison, Garvey and wicketkeeper Amanja Morris could all make their First-Class debuts today and NCN will carry live ball-by-ball commentary on the game.
Teams: Jaguars: Guyana Jaguars: Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Rajendra Chandrika, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Leon Johnson (Captain), Bashkar Yadram, Keemo Paul, Anthony Bramble, Sherfane Rutherford, Veerasammy Permaul (V/Capt), Gudakesh Motie, Romario Shepherd, Akshaya Persaud, Anthony Adams, Esuan Crandon (Coach), Rayon Griffith (Asst Coach/Manager)
Scorpions: Paul Palmer Jr. (capt), Trevon Griffith, Assad Fudadin, Garth Garvey, Brandon King, Romaine Morris, Fabian Allen, Damani Sewell, Dennis Bulli, Jason Dawes, Keno Wallace, Derval Green, Paul Harrison, Robert Samuels (Coach), Andrew Richardson (Asst Coach).