By Neil Barry Jr.,
The Guyana national T20 squad’s preparation for next month’s regional tournament has been gaining steam according to officials of the squad.
The 14-member squad under the captaincy of Veerasammy Permaul has been undergoing training sessions under the watchful eyes of head Coach Esaun Crandon.
The team was encamped on the evening of December 5 and will break twice, on Sunday to return on the 27th, and then on the 30th to return on January 2 before leaving Guyana on January 4.
Speaking with Stabroek Sports yesterday manager Alvin Johnson said he was especially confident about the team’s chances as they aim to prevent Trinidad and Tobago from copping the three-peat, after winning in 2011 and 2012.
The team won all of their practice games in contrasting scenarios, successfully defending targets in their first and third matches and victoriously chasing a low target in the second.
In the first game, the National Team batted first and scored 157 for 6 from their 20 overs, with contributions from Ramnaresh Sarwan 39 (38 balls) , Christopher Barnwell 32 (12 balls), Narsingh Deonarine 29 (23 balls) and Derwin Christian 26.
Shemroy Barrington posted the lone half-century of the game, hitting two sixes and one four before he was bowled by Devendra Bishoo as the Rest XI ended on 124 for 3 at the end of their 20 overs.
The Rest XI were restricted to 93 for 9 from their 20 overs in the second game as Bishoo, Royston Crandon and Leon Johnson proved difficult to get away. Trevon Griffith found some form with 55 that was scored off 41 deliveries with three sixes and two fours as the National Team raced to 95 for 4 from 14.4 overs, before opting for batting practice after completing the win and using all of their 20 overs. They finished on 137 for 6, as Barnwell 25 (12 balls 2×4, 1×6) and Steven Jacobs 20 (1×4) took the chance to spend time in the middle.
In the third match the National Team scored 143 for 4 from their 20 overs, with Sarwan leading from the front with 53 (3×4, 1×6). West Indies T20 player Christian chipped in with 45, the pair adding 62 for the second wicket. Opening the batting, Christian added 51 for the first wicket with Leon Johnson, who struck four fours and one six in his 25.
The Rest XI reached 115 for 5 from their 20 overs as the new national T20 captain and West Indies left-arm spinner Permaul took 2 for 20 and Barnwell, Ronsford Beaton and Deonarine took a wicket each for the National CT20 team.
Johnson opined that the low scores can be attributed to the nature of the Providence pitch while Coach Crandon said he feels the batsmen have been hitting the ball well. Johnson added that he was impressed by the fielding and fitness levels of the players heading into the 2013 version of the tournament, Guyana won in its inaugural edition. Fitness and strength coach Orin Bailey has been at work with the players, with Garvin Nedd serving as assistant coach.
The team possesses a mixture of youth and experience with West Indian middle order players Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul strengthening the batting line up which also includes Trevon Griffith, Johnson and wicket-keeper/batsman Christian.
Johnson said he felt good about Sarwan’s presence in the team, stating that he was looking in good form and that he is fit, hungry and focused on the team’s success.
He said that players such as Barnwell, Christian and Griffith can be expected to play key roles as the tournament progresses. Pacer Ronsford Beaton also impressed the manager with his pace and variations, and he concluded that Beaton could be used during the ‘death’ overs, an area where Guyana has fallen short in previous competitions.
Both the manager and Coach Team spoke of the camaraderie and confidence which the players have been showing and said that they expected this to continue throughout the tournament. The team is looking forward to fielding sessions under lights at the National Stadium, as well as continued tactical sessions as Coach Crandon feels this is an area the players have approached well. The CT20 starts on January 6 at the Queen’s Park Oval.
Guyana: Veerasammy Permaul (captain), Trevon Griffith, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Leon Johnson, Narsingh Deonarine, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Christopher Barnwell (vice captain), Royston Crandon, Steven Jacobs, Derwin Christian (WK), Jonathan Foo, Devendra Bishoo, Ronsford Beaton, and Rajiv Ivan.