The National T20 team is ready to take on its regional counterparts when the West Indies Cricket Board Caribbean T20 tournament bowls off on Sunday in Trinidad.
The squad has been encamped since December 5 and the team is expected to depart these shores for Port of Spain on Friday full of confidence.
With the inclusion of Guyana’s most prolific batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul and former world number one ranked limited overs batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan as well the 2011 ICC Emerging Player of the Year Devendra Bishoo and the newest West Indian Test spinner in Veerasammy Permaul, the team is not without players who have represented the West Indies at the highest level.
The team also includes a number of other talented and experienced players
Which should stand it in good stead as Guyana aims to recapture the T20 title they won when the Stanford T20 tournament was first staged.
According to head coach, Esaun Crandon, manager Alvin Johnson, as well as newly appointed skipper Permaul, the team spirit was the driving force during the team’s encampment.
The team had two breaks for the Christmas and New Year holidays and now the players are fine tuning aspects of their game in readiness for the battles ahead.
The squad, which included six standbys, has undergone fitness and strength training with assistance from Orin Bailey and Garvin Nedd and, apart from the warm up games, have been hard at work in net sessions. Despite the circumstances which have plagued cricket in Guyana, the side has been able to maintain a sense of unity in their preparation for what is expected to be the final edition of the Caribbean T20 since the WICB has announced a franchise-based tournament as its replacement.
Coach Crandon was especially happy with the levels of fitness of his players making mention of the player’s performance in the beep test, which he said were exceptional. Manager Johnson was also impressed by the fitness levels and said that it has shown in the field that strides were being made. Crandon told Stabroek Sport that he was grateful for the use of the national stadium for the team’s preparation, with the team having warm up matches as well as practice sessions in the practice area prepared by the ground staff, who also came in for praise. Crandon noted that he was hopeful the team would ‘peak’ timely in the tournament, which begins with matches at the Queen’s Park Oval before the tournament shifts to St Lucia.
Trinidad has been a ‘home away from home’ for many members of the squad, who play club cricket in Trinidad. Nonetheless, the coach said that he was confident that the players have received adequate preparation for the conditions, which are expected to be similar to those at home. He expects the spinners in the squad, Bishoo, Permaul, Deonarine or Jacobs, to play crucial roles in the usually spin friendly conditions but added that the seamers in the squad, Ronsford Beaton and Christopher Barnwell, are expected to contribute to the team effort, be it with the new ball or at the end of the innings.
Beaton, the West Indies Under 19 pacer, offers extra pace to the attack, but the coach said that he also brings to the table a number of variations, which could be useful at the end of the innings when the opposition launches all-out attack. Guyana also possess a balance of firepower and finesse in their batting ranks, as the likes of Jonathan Foo, Barnwell, Derwin Christian, Jacobs and Royston Crandon have been included to merge with the class of Sarwan, Chanderpaul, Leon Johnson and newer players Trevon Griffith and Rajiv Ivan.
The squad which regrouped yesterday has one more day to fine-tune their l preparations before departing on Friday. The team is expected to have two practice sessions in Trinidad before their first game against the Combined Campuses and Colleges at 8pm on January 7. The Caribbean T20 bowls off on January 6 at 8 p.m. with defending champions Trinidad and Tobago set to face Jamaica.
Guyana Squad: 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.