From the inception I was pleased with the selection of the Guyana T20 team even though it was done without the inter-county playoffs that would have given the selectors a better insight into its composition. This notwithstanding, the Amazon Conquerors did Guyana proud despite their failure to win the finals against Trinidad in the just concluded Caribbean T20 tournament in St Lucia. Perhaps the team was overwhelmed by the occasion or even the early evening moisture of the pitch, which I thought was something in Trinidad‘s favour, since that team consisted largely of players who would have represented the West Indies. Also the fact that Guyana had played four consecutive matches may have been a contributing factor to their passive display in the final.
I listened to the radio commentary for the duration of the tournament since the local television did not provide coverage, and indeed the praise for the Guyanese was gratifying to the ear, as one commentator after another extolled the achievements of the players. In fact the radio commentary was amazingly exciting, especially for Guyana’s nail-biting victories against Combined Campuses and the Windward Islands. The commentaries also tested my composure and increased my resolve to remain loyal to my radio!
It was an unforgettable tournament, especially seeing our local talent rise to the occasion. The Caribbean was stunned, and had to duly salute Christopher Barnwell instead of Christopher Gayle (rare upstage) in the semi-finals against Jamaica, despite the indomitable Jamaican’s savage century. Then to proudly listen to the legendary Curtly Ambrose and Ian Bishop’s expert acknowledgement of the fast-bowling prowess of Ronsford Beaton as he won brief duels against Gayle and Pollard. I had my initial fears about the duo, but given Beaton’s amazing pace and variation I am confident of his rapid rise to international stardom in the near future. While Barnwell and Beaton were exceptional, I was also encouraged by the mental strength and belief in the team of the players, as Steven Jacobs stood out when it matters against Barbados and so too Leon Johnson against the Winward Islands. Nothing will erase the supreme skill of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, and his versatility was evident in his few innings before his disappointing injury. The same can be said of Ramnaresh Sarwan and Narsingh Deonarine; their collective talent, though short of expectation in the tournament will evolve as they become mature professionals, no doubt for Guyana and the West Indies very soon.
Collectively the team must be given credit considering the continued impasse between the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) and the Interim Management Committee (IMC) which did not provide an ideal environment for the preparation of the team. I believe also that there was not sufficient publicity regarding the team’s progress during training, whereby the public could have become more interested and attached to the team. This scenario has to change very quickly since the unprecedented feat by Trinidad is not a coincidence, but a combination of thorough practice and training over a long period of time; professional guidance from experts in different fields; mutual understanding between the administrative board and the government; public interest in the welfare of the team; and having a competent and supportive technical workforce.
It is in the best interest of the future of quite a promising group of players for there to be a united Guyana Cricket Board (GCB), encapsulating the ideas and dream of the three counties that should form a solid strategic framework for the development of the game in Guyana. In fact I have noted with great pleasure the elevation of young Tagenarine Chanderpaul and Ricardo Adams to the senior team, two of the finest talents, the former undisputedly gifted while the latter as exciting as Kieron Pollard. Such a vast reservoir of promise is indicative of a country preserving and reinforcing the legacy of our heroes such as Clive Lloyd, Rohan Kanhai, Roy Fredericks, Lance Gibbs, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Alvin Kallicharran, etc. The T20 team has given much hope for the future and would have no doubt inspired many young cricketers to live their dream of one day proudly representing Guyana.